She was a seamstress whose simple and defiant act half a century ago galvanized a movement and propelled her into history.

President Barack Obama and congressional leaders Wednesday unveiled a 9-foot bronze statue of Rosa Parks, placing her among the pantheon of leaders who shaped the course of history. Parks is the first black woman honored in the Capitol's Statuary Hall with a full-length statue.

In 1955, Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man on a segregated Montgomery, Ala., bus and was arrested. Her cause and her case catapulted a young Martin Luther King Jr. to prominence and led to a yearlong bus boycott. The Supreme Court ruled in 1956 that segregation was unconstitutional. She died in 2005 at age 92.

The statue renders her as sitting primly, hands in her lap, clutching her purse, staring straight ahead.

Obama joined with House and Senate leaders as well as relatives of Parks in unveiling the statue.

"Rosa Parks tell us there's always something we can do. She tells us that we all have responsibilities, to ourselves and to one another," Obama said.

-- The Washington Post

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