In 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks courageously refused to give up her seat on a municipal bus to a white man, defying the discriminatory laws of the time. The U.S. Postal Service honored the life of this extraordinary American activist who became an iconic figure in the civil rights movement.
The stamp art, a gouache painting on illustration board, is a portrait of Parks emphasizing her quiet strength. A 1950s photograph served as the basis for the stamp portrait.
The response to Parks's arrest was a boycott of the Montgomery bus system that lasted for more than a year and became an international cause celebre. In 1956, in a related case, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that segregating Montgomery buses was unconstitutional.
Soon after the boycott ended, Parks moved to Detroit, Michigan. She joined the 1963 march on Washington and returned to Alabama in 1965 to join the march from Selma to Montgomery. The many honors Parks received in her lifetime include the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1966), the Spingarn Medal (1979), and the Congressional Gold Medal (1999). Upon her death in 2005, she became the first woman and second African American to lie in honor in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda in Washington, DC.
Artist Thomas Blackshear II created an original painting for the stamp, which was designed by art director Derry Noyes. The stamp is being issued as a Forever stamp.