Troy University in Montgomery, AL, was the site of a special Rosa Parks’ 100th birthday celebration and stamp unveiling February 4. The Forever Stamp, which equals the value of a First-Class Mail one-ounce price, features a portrait of Parks emphasizing her quiet strength.
The event, hosted by Troy University’s Rosa Parks Museum in historic downtown Montgomery, took place at the site of her December 1, 1955, arrest for refusing to give up her seat in the colored section to a white passenger, after the white section was filled. The arrest served as a catalyst for the Montgomery Bus Boycott — an important symbols of the Civil Rights Movement — which lasted more than a year. In 1956, in a related case, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that segregating Montgomery buses was unconstitutional.
Although she became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation and collaborated with civil rights leaders, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., she also suffered for her act and was fired from her job as a seamstress in a local department store.
A 1950s photograph served as the basis for the stamp portrait. Artist Thomas Blackshear II created an original painting for the stamp, which was designed by art director Derry Noyes.
In addition to postal representatives — Alabama District Marketing Manager Bridgett Carroll and Montgomery Postmaster Donnie Snipes — award-winning poet Nikky Finney, Cornell University Associate Professor Dr. Riche’ Richardson, and Museum Director Georgette Norman and Curator Daniel Neil were present at the unveiling.