Reps. Jim Cooper, Joyce Beatty & Terri Sewell Introduce Bill to Establish Federal Holiday Honoring Rosa Parks

Aug 30, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON  Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05), along with Congressional Black Caucus Chair Rep. Joyce Beatty (OH-3) and Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07), introduced the Rosa Parks Day Act. The bill would honor civil rights leader Rosa Parks by designating a new federal holiday. Nashvillian Moses Fisher, Jr. proposed the idea to Cooper and has championed it very effectively.

On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, for asserting her dignity and equal rights. She refused to give up her seat on a city bus to a white man and was charged with violating Montgomery’s segregation law. Her arrest inspired the Montgomery Bus boycott – a major turning point in the civil rights movement when tens of thousands of people boycotted the bus system for over a year until the United States Supreme Court forced the city to desegregate its buses.

In awarding her the Congressional Gold Medal, Congress recognized Rosa Parks as the “first lady of civil rights,” the “mother of the freedom movement,” and igniting “the most significant social movement in the history of the United States.” 

Nashville led the nonviolent Civil Rights Movement, but there may not have even been a movement were it not for the bravery of a young woman from Alabama named Rosa Parks. There is no more fitting or deserving person in American history to award the honor of a new national holiday than Rosa Parks,” Rep. Jim Cooper said.

“Through her willingness to sit, Rosa Parks stood up for what she believed in,” Rep. Joyce Beatty said. “As a state legislator, I was proud to lead the push to make the Buckeye State the first state to officially recognize Rosa Parks Day. It’s now time for us to come together as a nation to honor this American hero through a new national holiday.

“On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks sat so that this nation could stand up for the values that our democracy holds so dear,” said Rep. Sewell. “Her quiet, dignified courage helped inspire a civil rights movement that changed this country for the better. As the U.S. Representative for Montgomery, I’m so proud to introduce the Rosa Parks Day Act to make December 1st a national holiday in her honor. Such a day will ensure the memory of her brave sacrifice lives on in America’s story for generations to come.”