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Alabama marks first official Rosa Parks Day

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama is marking its first Rosa Parks Day.

Alabama lawmakers earlier this year voted to designate Dec. 1 as a day to honor the civil rights icon.

Parks, an African-American woman, was arrested after refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger on a segregated bus in Montgomery on Dec. 1, 1955. Her action ignited the yearlong Montgomery bus boycott and helped usher in the civil rights movement.

The day is not a full-fledged state holiday where state offices close, but counties and municipalities can elect to observe Dec. 1 as a holiday.

A number of commemorations were held Saturday.

The lawyer who represented Rosa Parks after she was arrested for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man will speak at an event marking the 63rd anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Tuskegee attorney Fred Gray will speak at a commemoration planned for Monday night at First Baptist Church in Montgomery.

The event is being sponsored by the National Center for the Study of Civil Rights and African-American Culture at Alabama State University.

Gray represented Parks after she was arrested for violating racial segregation laws on Dec. 1, 1965. Her arrest sparked a yearlong bus boycott that became a starting point for the modern civil rights movement.

The boycott was led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., then a young preacher in Montgomery.

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