On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks, a 42-year-old African American woman who worked as a seamstress, inspired a social movement when she refused to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery, Ala., city bus. That singular act of courage helped spark the Civil Rights Movement and a new era in the American quest for freedom and equality. On Feb. 4, 2013, The Henry Ford will acknowledge Rosa Parks’ 100th birthday and her inspiring life through a National Day of Courage, encouraging every American to take a stand and commit themselves to do something courageous just as Mrs. Parks did back on that day in 1955.
The day-long celebration taking place inside Henry Ford Museum will feature nationally-recognized speakers, live music, and dramatic presentations. Current scheduled speakers include American social activist and leader in the Civil Rights Movement Julian Bond, contributing Newsweek editor Eleanor Clift, Rosa Parks biographers Jeanne Theoharis and Douglas Brinkley and author and Wayne State University Assistant Professor Danielle McGuire.
The U.S. Postal Service will also be recognizing Mrs. Parks’ extraordinary life as an American activist and iconic figure in the Civil Rights Movement by unveiling the Rosa Parks Forever Stamp during a special First-Day-of-Issue dedication ceremony at The Henry Ford. Guests can become one of the first to purchase the stamp throughout the day inside the Museum.
Guests in attendance will also have the opportunity to take a seat on the Rosa Parks bus, which is on permanent display inside the Museum. In honor of the event, admission to Henry Ford Museum is free courtesy of Target and the Museum will extend its hours of operation until 9:30 p.m.
For those unable to attend the day’s events in-person, Detroit Public Television will be providing a live national broadcast via satellite and across the Internet. Visitors to The Henry Ford’s Facebook page can also participate by sharing what they have the courage to do in honor of Rosa Parks’ birthday on Feb. 4.