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U.S. Secretary Slater Names Highway to Honor Civil Rights Leader

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Rodney E. Slater

U.S. Secretary Slater Names Highway to Honor Civil Rights Leader

U.S. Department of Transportation
November 2, 2000

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, November 2, 2000
Contact: Ben Langer
Phone: (202) 366-5580
DOT 217-00

ST. LOUIS, MO -- U.S. Secretary of Transportation Rodney E. Slater today honored a pioneer of the civil rights movement by dedicating a one-mile section of I-55 south of downtown St. Louis, MO as the Rosa Parks Highway.

"Forty-five years ago, Mrs. Rosa Parks’quiet defiance greatly contributed to the civil rights movement, said Secretary Slater. "Today’s naming of the Rosa Parks Highway reminds individuals that transportation is about more than concrete, asphalt, and steel. It’s about people and empowering citizens to fulfill their dreams."

During the 2000 legislative session, the Missouri Legislature passed a bill, sponsored by State Senator William Clay and State Representative Russell Gunn, to name a 1.13-mile stretch of Interstate 55 from one mile south of Lindbergh Boulevard to Butler Hill Road the "Rosa Parks Highway." Former Governor Mel Carnahan signed the bill into law on May 30, 2000.

Mrs. Rosa Parks, often called the "mother of the civil rights movement," is best known for her refusal to give up her seat on a segregated Montgomery, Alabama bus in December 1955. Her subsequent arrest was the catalyst for the year-long Montgomery Bus Boycott, the first victory in the growing civil rights movement.

Secretary Slater join Senator Clay and Representative Gunn, government officials, state highway personnel, and community and religious leaders in unveiling the new signs that will mark the highway. The signs will be located along southbound I-55 north of Mattis Road and along northbound I-55 south of Butler Hill Road.

The Missouri Legislature named the highway in honor of Mrs. Rosa Parks because she represents the power of one individual to act as a change agent and to remind citizens that they have the ability to create positive change within their spheres of influence.

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