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Rosa Parks statue unveiled in Montgomery

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Montgomery, Ala., city leaders surround the statue of Rosa Parks unveiled Dec. 1, 2019, 64 years to the day after Parks was arrested for refusing to surrender her seat to a white passenger. Photo from the City of Montgomery.

Montgomery, Ala., unveiled a statute of civil rights icon Rosa Parks on Sunday, Dec. 1.

The statue marks the site where Parks stepped onto the bus where she refused to give up her seat to a white passenger and was arrested. The unveiling commemorated the date of the incident: Dec. 1, 1955.

The city also unveiled two historic markers commemorating the landmark U.S. District Court case that paved the way to desegregate public transportation across the nation. In November 1956, judges hearing Browder v. Gayle ruled that segregation on Montgomery’s buses was unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court later affirmed the decision effectively overturning Plessy v. Ferguson, which had made “separate but equal” the law of the land in 1896. It would take another eight years and an act of Congress to take the decision nationwide.

Rosa Parks in her 1955 booking photo and on a Montgomery bus.

Fred Gray, the lawyer who defended Parks, was on hand for the unveiling along with many other civil-rights heroes and about 400 others, the Montgomery Advertiser reported.

“For the city officials, from the city and the county, to be able to honor Mrs. Parks and honor those plaintiffs, and even more importantly to honor the 40,000 African American men and women who stayed off of the buses for 382 days, it is indeed a step in the right direction,” Gray told the Advertiser.

The City of Montgomery, the Montgomery County Commission and the State of Alabama Department of Tourism funded the project and commissioned Montgomery County artist Clydetta Fulmer to complete the work.

Parks was a civil rights activist long before that fateful day in 1955. She was secretary of the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP, and she was prominent in the community. Her refusal to obey the bus driver’s order to move to the “colored” section of the bus was not the first time an African American refused the order nor the first arrest for civil disobedience, but the NAACP felt she was the best person on whom to base their case. That case eventually got bogged down, but her actions and willingness to become a controversial national figure inspired thousands of African Americans to boycott the buses for more than a year.

Both the Montgomery bus boycott and Parks became important touchstones for the Civil Rights Movement, and she is often referred to as the mother of the movement.

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MDOT announces I-20 lane closures near Clinton

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If your commute regularly takes you to and from Clinton, Miss., be advised that you will likely be dealing with slow traffic for a couple of months starting next week.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation announced today that it would be closing the inside lanes of both eastbound and westbound Interstate 20 at Norrell Road (exit 31) starting Monday, Jan. 27, at 7 a.m.

The work, which will make repairs to bridges over Norrell Road in Hinds County, is expected to take about 60 days.

Please use caution in the area and expect delays.

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Corps’ mat sinking unit suspended revetment season due to flooding

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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District’s Mat Sinking Unit suspended its 2019 revetment season Jan. 21. The season was suspended due to adverse river conditions caused by flooded riverbanks and high velocity flows. The unit will remain on standby for approximately one month as district engineers and technical experts monitor river conditions for the opportunity to complete scheduled work. If conditions are favorable, the unit will potentially resume work in late February. (photo courtesy USACE)

From the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District’s Mat Sinking Unit suspended its 2019 revetment season Jan. 21.

The season was suspended due to adverse river conditions caused by flooded riverbanks and high-velocity flows. The unit will remain on standby for approximately one month as district engineers and technical experts monitor river conditions for the opportunity to complete scheduled work. If conditions are favorable, the unit will potentially resume work in late February.

During the 2019 season, the unit has placed approximately 170,000 squares of articulated concrete mattress along the banks of the Mississippi River to prevent erosion, protect key areas of the riverbank and flood control works and provide a safe, reliable channel for navigation.

“For more than 70 years, the Mat Sinking Unit has taken on the unique and important task of preventing erosion and maintaining navigation up and down the Mississippi River,” said Vicksburg District Commander Col. Robert Hilliard in a statement. “The Mississippi River serves as a vital commercial waterway and drainage system for the nation, and the hard work of the unit allows it to perform those crucial functions.”

Unparalleled across the world, the Mat Sinking Unit is a feat of skilled labor and technological innovation. A mat sinking barge, a mat supply barge, quarter barges, spar barges, gantry cranes, bulldozers and motor vessels are among the equipment used by the unit to help maintain the Mississippi River’s stabilization and navigation. Each season, approximately 50 full-time and 220 seasonal or temporary employees live on quarter boats and work 10-hour shifts and 12-consecutive-day work periods to execute the mission. The unit typically operates when river stages are at their lowest and conducts work that spans the jurisdictions of the Memphis, Vicksburg and New Orleans districts.

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Warrenton Road blocked due to accidents

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Warrenton Road is blocked from U.S. Highway 61 South to near Lady Luck Casino due to two accidents reportedly caused by a vehicle pulled over due to a medical incident.

Plan on taking another route until about 4:30 p.m.

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