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Civil rights icon Parks honored with postage stamp

School children tour the bus that civil rights icon Rosa Parks made famous when she refused to give up her seat February 4, 2013 at The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan.

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

School children tour the bus that civil rights icon Rosa Parks made famous when she refused to give up her seat February 4, 2013 at The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan.

DEARBORN, Mich. — Hundreds of people, including some of Michigan’s political elite, gathered Monday to celebrate the late Rosa Parks on what would have been her 100th birthday by unveiling a postage stamp in her honor steps from the Alabama bus on which she stared down segregation nearly 60 years ago.

Parks, who died in 2005, became one of the enduring figures of the civil rights movement when she refused to cede her seat in the colored section of the Montgomery, Ala., bus to a white man after the whites-only section filled up. Her defiance and the ensuing black boycott of the city bus system helped the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. rise to national prominence.

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The stamp ceremony was part of a 12-hour event at The Henry Ford museum complex in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Parks’s birth that also featured speeches and live music.

USPS launched the series Jan. 1 with the Emancipation Proclamation Forever Stamp, which was issued at The National Archives in Washington. In August, the series will culminate with the dedication of a stamp recognizing the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington.

The Parks stamp went on sale Monday at post offices nationwide and at The Henry Ford, where dozens of people lined up to buy it, and nearby where collectors gathered to get their new stamps and other collectibles stamped by a postal service employee.

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