U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) today announced his cosponsorship of legislation to issue a commemorative stamp to honor the late civil rights activist Rosa Parks.
“As a country we often look to see how far we have to go in race relations, but when I think of the legacy left by Rosa Parks, it reminds me of how far we have come,” said Alexander. “In 1955, when she refused to give up her seat on the bus in Montgomery, African Americans in the South didn’t have the same rights as others. Rosa Parks helped change that, and I think issuing a stamp in her honor would be an excellent reminder that every person can make their world a better and more just place.”
Parks passed away in October 2005. U.S. Postal Service regulations generally require people to be deceased for at least 10 years before issuing a stamp. The bill introduced today by Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) directs the U.S. Postal Service to issue a stamp in honor of Parks before the 10 year requirement has elapsed. The only regular exception is for Presidents, who need only be deceased for a year. The last general exception was made in 1948 for Moina Michael, an advocate for World War I veterans.
Rosa Parks, 92 at the time of her death, rose to national prominence in 1955 when she refused to give her seat to a white man on a city bus. She continued to be a civil rights leader for the remainder of her life. After her death, her body lay in honor in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. Parks was the first woman and only the 30th person to be given that honor.
"I think Rosa Parks showed immense courage and has earned a noble place in the history of our nation's struggle for equal opportunity,” said Alexander. “She is truly an exception to the rule.”