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Rosa Parks honored with new stamp

Rosa Parks would have been 100 years old today. The Postal Service is honoring her with a new stamp, released today.

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From left, Rep. Gary Peters (D) of Michigan, Elaine Steele, Deputy Postmaster General Ronald Stroman, Sen. Carl Levin (D) of Michigan, Rep. John Conyers (D) of Michigan, Carolyn House Stewart, Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority international president, and Patricia Mooradian, president of The Henry Ford, help unveil the Rosa Parks' 100th birthday commemorative postage stamp at The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Mich., Monday, Feb. 4.

Carlos Osorio/AP

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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.

"This is being done in sight of the bus where future generations can sit in a seat where Rosa Parks sat and refused to budge and in a seat where the world was changed," U.S. Sen. Carl Levin said before he and U.S. Rep. John Conyers, a fellow Democrat, pulled the curtain to reveal the Rosa Parks Forever Stamp, which bears her 1950's likeness.

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

At one point, officials cleared the vehicle and allowed Deputy Postmaster General Ronald Stroman — who as a young lawyer worked on Conyers' staff while Parks worked at Conyers' Detroit office — to sit on the bus by himself.

Stroman looked around the bus and gathered his thoughts before saying: "It's such a powerful experience to be actually in the seat that Rosa Parks sat in. It's almost emotional — very overwhelming to be here."

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