by Stacy M. Brown
As the nation approaches the 68th anniversary of Rosa Parks’ historic arrest, U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell of Alabama’s 7th District, along with Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Chairman Steven Horsford and Representative Joyce Beatty, held a press conference on Capitol Hill to rally support for H.R. 308, the Rosa Parks Day Act. The proposed legislation aims to designate December 1 as a federal holiday in honor of Rosa Parks, recognizing her pivotal role in the Civil Rights Movement.
December 1, 1955, marked a turning point in American history when Rosa Parks, a courageous African American woman, was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, for refusing to surrender her bus seat to a white passenger. Her act of defiance ignited the Montgomery Bus Boycott and became a catalyst for the broader struggle for civil rights.
Sewell, representing the district where Rosa Parks’ arrest occurred, emphasized the significance of recognizing this momentous occasion. As Rep. Sewell’s first bill in the 118th Congress, the Rosa Parks Day Act (H.R. 308) is of particular significance to the congresswoman and CBC members.
“Rosa Parks’ bravery on that December day changed the course of history, and it is only fitting that we honor her legacy with a federal holiday,” Sewell stated. “It’s time for our nation to officially recognize the contributions of a woman and a Black woman to the fight for equality.”
Currently, the United States lacks a federal holiday dedicated explicitly to honoring a woman or a Black woman. The Rosa Parks Day Act seeks to rectify this by amending Section 6103(a) of Title 5, United States Code, to include “Rosa Parks Day” as a legal public holiday, placing it alongside other significant national observances.
The bill’s proponents argue that recognizing Rosa Parks’ arrest as a federal holiday would pay tribute to her courage and serve as a broader symbol of the ongoing struggle for equality and justice.