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FLOOR STATEMENT
Recognizing the 50th Anniversary of the Montgomery bus boycott

Washington, DC - December 1, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I proudly rise today to honor the legacy of African American courage and resolve. Too often the spirit and determination of African American people has been diminished by the American political realities of segregation, discrimination and racism. For too long the organized strength and intensity of the African American community has been squelched or denied all together. On December 1, 1955 African Americans in Montgomery, Alabama courageously stood up, against seemingly unsurmountable odds, to strike a blow against segregation in America.

The historical contributions that Black Americans have made have made to this country have been shrouded by ignorance and bigotry. The majesty and the grandeur, of the African American cultural experience, should be recognized and appreciated by all Americans. A closer review of the African American cultural experience reveals the hopes and dreams of all Americans.

Rosa Parks is probably the most illustrious of all the courageous African Americans who have contributed to making our nation more like the constitution meant for it to be. While she appeared to be a plain ordinary citizen, she was well prepared to stand up to the injustices experienced by millions of oppressed African Americans. December 1, 1955 Rosa was the day when she and a few other brave souls organized a movement to boycott the city buses in Montgomery , Alabama until African Americans were allowed to sit anywhere they wanted - instead of being relegated to the rear of the bus when a white person boarded.

The Montgomery Boycott, has become one of the most significant political protest campaigns ever waged. The ensuing struggle eventually led to a United States Supreme Court decision on November 13, 1956 that declared illegal the Alabama and Montgomery laws requiring segregated buses.

The legacy of the Montgomery boycott is that it helped to launch a national struggle for freedom and justice - the Civil Rights movement. Today, Mr. Speaker I rise to celebrate the legacy of courage within the African American community. The Montgomery Boycott signaled a new beginning that has highlighted the cultural expressions and socio-political achievements of African Americans.

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