Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton recalls the work of civil rights activist Rosa Parks, and says, “our work isn’t finished.”
MONTGOMERY ALABAMA, UNITED STATES (DECEMBER 1, 2015) (RESTRICTED POOL) – U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Tuesday (December 1) recalled the work of civil rights icon Rosa Parks on the 60th anniversary of her arrest for refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger on a segregated Alabama bus.
Parks, who made history by taking a stand alongside other desegregation pioneers like Claudette Colvin, a black teenager arrested nine months earlier in Montgomery, Alabama, was saluted at a National Bar Association event at a Montgomery church to mark the occasion.
“It’s always struck me how, depending on the way you look at it, Rosa Parks either did something tremendous or something rather humble. On the one hand she helped ignite a social movement that sought to finish the work of the Civil War and redeem the promise of the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments. On the other hand she finished her shift at the Montgomery Fair department store, took her regular bus home, sat where she and other African-Americans always sat,” Clinton said.
Clinton praised the work of lawyers and judges who overturned segregation-era laws, but she said much remained to do in 21st century America, recently beset by high-profile racially-charged incidents.
“Our work isn’t finished. We do have to pay it forward. There are still injustices perpetrated every day across our country – sometimes in spite of the law, sometimes unfortunately, in keeping with it,” Clinton said, repeating campaign initiatives, including criminal justice reform.
The Montgomery bus boycott, launched in protest of Parks’ arrest on Dec. 1, 1955, modeled the nonviolent protests that defined the era and brought to prominence a lead organizer, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.
The anniversary bookends a year of civil rights milestones in the United States, including the 50th anniversary of a historic march in Alabama from Selma to Montgomery.
In Selma, authorities attacked demonstrators who were practicing the peaceful approach laid out a decade earlier in the bus boycott. The incident galvanized support to pass the 1965 Voting Rights Act and helped advance civil rights in the U.S. South.