MONTGOMERY - The Rosa Parks Museum at Troy University's Montgomery Campus officially kicked off its celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott Monday night with a gallery reception to open two special exhibits.
"The Montgomery Bus Boycott: A Reflection of 60 Years," which will be on display through Feb. 29 in the museum's gallery, explores how media covered the boycott through a series of photographs, images of newspapers and editorial cartoons. The exhibit was curated by Dr. Felicia Bell, director of the Rosa Parks Museum, and Scotty and Jacqlyn Kirkland of Kirkland Creative Group. In addition, a weeklong exhibit of special bus boycott artifacts opened Monday, including the original fingerprint arrest record of Rosa Parks, a fare machine from a 1955 bus and a Jim Crow-era waiting room sign.
Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., Troy University Chancellor, told the gathering that the University sought to preserve Mrs. Parks' legacy through the museum.
"We wanted to create here a place that would serve to maintain the truth and the legacy of Mrs. Parks," Dr. Hawkins said. “Since the museum opened, more than 600,000 visitors have passed through these doors. However, there are many millions who need to share in this courageous story and the most important group that needs to know the story of Rosa Parks is our children."
Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange said he was proud of the relationship the city enjoys with Troy University.
"This has been a special year for me. I've had the privilege of leading the city of Montgomery through two very significant anniversaries - the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery March, and now, the 60th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott," Strange said. "I am proud of the relationship we have with Troy University and all that it means to our downtown area, and I'm especially proud of the commitment it has made in preserving the legacy of Rosa Parks through this wonderful museum."
Dr. Felicia Bell, director of the museum, also welcomed guests during the reception.
"I am proud of this exhibit and I hope that it will cause you to pause and think," Dr. Bell said. "This exhibit addresses not only the past and the struggles overcome through the courage and struggle of so many individuals, but also the 21st century Civil Rights Movement and how we address the issues of today and the future."
Gallery exhibits are free and open to the public during normal operating hours of the museum. The museum is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays.