President Barack Obama will join Democratic and Republican congressional leaders next week for the ceremony to unveil a statue of civil rights icon Rosa Parks at the U.S. Capitol—the first statue of an African-American woman in the halls of Congress.
In 1955, Parks, a Montgomery, Ala., seamstress, refused to give up her seat on a public bus to a white man. She was convicted of violating the state’s segregation laws, and her legal battle ultimately reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled the bus segregation law unconstitutional.
In April 2012, Obama visited the Henry Ford Museum after a campaign rally in Dearborn, Mich. Official White House photographer Pete Souza snapped a picture of the president sitting on the Rosa Parks bus.
Republican House Speaker John Boehner and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid invited Obama to attend the unveiling.
"We will come together to celebrate the life and legacy of Mrs. Parks, whose statue will be the first of an African-American woman in the Capitol," the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Obama. "This is a national statue and this ceremony will be a national moment, an occasion to recount a watershed event in our history and reaffirm our capacity to confront injustice and lift each other up."
The White House said Obama had accepted the invitation.