The Museum of UnCut Funk has added the Rosa Parks Commemorative Bronze Medal to our coin and medals collection.

Rosa Parks, the “mother of the civil rights movement” was one of the most important citizens of the 20th century. Mrs. Parks was a seamstress in Montgomery, Alabama when, in December of 1955, she refused to give up her seat on a city bus to a white passenger. The bus driver had her arrested. She was tried and convicted of violating a local ordinance.

Her act of defiance sparked a citywide boycott of the bus system by Blacks that lasted more than a year. The boycott raised an unknown clergyman named Martin Luther King, Jr., to national prominence and resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court decision outlawing segregation on city buses. Over the next four decades, she helped make her fellow Americans aware of the history of the civil rights struggle. Her example remains an inspiration to freedom-loving people everywhere.

In 1999, Rosa Parks was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal to honor her “contributions to the Nation” as the “first lady of civil rights” and “mother of the freedom movement,” whose “quiet dignity ignited the most significant social movement in the history of the United States.” We have added the Rosa Parks replica Commemorative Bronze Medal to our collection.

This pioneer in the struggle for racial equality was the recipient of many other honors, including the Martin Luther King Jr. Nonviolent Peace Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Congressional Gold Medal and Presidential Medal of Freedom are two of the highest honors that a civilian can receive from the US Government.

Upon her death, Parks was the first woman and second Black person in American history to have their remains lie in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.

She became the first Black woman to be memorialized with a full length statue in National Statuary Hall in the Capital building. Her statue was dedicated by President Obama and joins a statue of Frederick Douglas and bust of Sojourner Truth in Emancipation Hall in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, and bust of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.

Rosa Parks contributions are also commemorated by the Civil Rights Act Of 1964 Commemorative Silver Dollar Coin. Both Parks and her act of defiance on a Montgomery bus were honored on United States postage stamps.

The obverse of the medal features her portrait with the following inscriptions centered along the top “ROSA PARKS” and centered along the bottom and sides “MOTHER OF THE MODERN DAY CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT.”

The reverse features the motto “QUIET STRENGTH” centered along the top above the earth’s globe, which is beneath the scales of justice, framed by a swag of oak leaves on the left and right sides. The quotes, “PRIDE, DIGNITY, COURAGE,” and “BY ACT OF CONGRESS 1999” are inscribed on the center bottom of the reverse.

You can learn more about commemorative currency in our Coins, Medals and Medallions collection and our For The Love Of Money: Blacks On US Currency Exhibition.

Source: US Mint

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