A book discussion with author H.H. Leonards will highlight Rosa Parks Day activities at Troy University’s Rosa Parks Museum on Dec. 1.
In 2018, the Alabama Legislature unanimously approved a bill declaring Dec. 1 as Rosa Parks Day in the state. Dec. 1 marks the anniversary of Parks’ historic 1955 arrest after she refused to relinquish her seat on a Montgomery city bus to a white male passenger. Her arrest sparked a boycott of the Montgomery city buses by the African American community, eventually leading to the desegregation of the city’s public bus system. This year marks the 67th anniversary of Mrs. Parks’ arrest and the beginning of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Leonards, the author of “Rosa Parks Beyond the Bus,” will be joined LaDonna Boyd, CEO of publisher R.H. Boyd, to discuss the book, beginning at noon in the Museum’s auditorium. The event, which is made possible thanks to the Alabama Humanities Alliance, is free and open to the public. The event also will be live-streamed on the Museum’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/TroyUniversityRosaParksMuseum/. A reception and book signing will follow.
“The museum is honored to have H.H. Leonards with us to commemorate Mrs. Parks’ brave act of defiance,” said Donna Beisel, the museum’s Interim Director. “Leonards had a decade-long, personal relationship with Mrs. Parks and will be able to offer insight into her later years, which are largely overlooked.”
Leonards is a wife, mother of three, and founder of O Museum in The Mansion in Washington, D.C., where Mrs. Rosa Parks, her friends, and business associates lived with her, at no cost, as part of The Mansion and O Museum’s Heroes-In-Residence Program.
O Museum in The Mansion was established Feb. 14, 1980 to provide a safe haven and sanctuary where guests learn from one another and foster the development of diversity, the creative process and the human spirit. The building is a “Historic 20th Century Civil Rights Site” on The African American Heritage Trail.
Throughout her professional career, Leonards has focused on making it economically feasible for corporations to leverage their philanthropic contributions for their benefit — and the benefit of society. She has tirelessly worked to encourage companies and individuals to translate their personal visions into a mission of service. As a consultant to Ogilvy & Mather, she helped them create cause-related marketing for their clients.
A staunch advocate of social justice through music and storytelling, she is Co-Founder of 51StepsToFreedom.org, a non-profit organization that is developing a city-wide trail that traces America’s struggle for equality and freedom.
Also, as a part of the observance, the Rosa Parks Museum will offer free admission, Dec. 1-5, and, on Dec. 1, will offer arts and crafts, display of the 1955-era Montgomery city bus, and display of Mrs. Parks’ fingerprint card from her arrest on Dec. 1, 1955.
As a part of communitywide observances, a Unity Walk for Peace and Justice will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 1, beginning at the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church and ending at the Rosa Parks Museum. St. Paul AME Church, of which Mrs. Parks’ was a member during her time in Montgomery, will host the Rosa Parks Community Convocation beginning at 7 p.m., featuring guest speaker Bryan Stevenson, Founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative. For a complete list of observances in the Montgomery area, visit https://www.mgmbusboycott.com/dl/6471c6.