MONTGOMERY – Troy University and Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama officials dedicated 10 bronze plaques that will form an outdoor exhibit at the Rosa Parks Library and Museum.
The exhibit features 10 36-inch bronze roundels depicting significant scenes and events that took place during the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and were created by Montgomery artist and native Winfred A. Hawkins and The Plaxx Company, of Charlottesville, Va.. The exhibit was made possible by a grant from HMMA for $80,000.
“This is a great day for Alabama, the city of Montgomery, Troy University but, most of all, it’s a great day for America,” Dr. Hawkins said. “Excellence is not free and it was a very generous gift by Hyundai that made this exhibit possible.”
Dr. Hawkins said the concept of the outdoor exhibit began when the Library and Museum was first designed in 1999. Six display openings were constructed on the front exterior of the building, which is located on the corner where Rosa Parks, a black woman, was arrested for her refusal to give up her seat on a Montgomery city bus to a white man. Later, when the Children’s Wing was constructed, four more display openings were constructed.
“Today we pay tribute to the unsung heroes of the Montgomery Bus Boycott – the men and women who were the foot soldiers of the Civil Rights Movement,” said Dr. Hawkins.
Hyundai agreed to be the sole sponsor of the project in 2006 and the design and casting of the roundels took more than a year to complete.
“Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama is pleased to support the vision of Chancellor Hawkins and Troy University to create this beautiful display of the event that was a milestone in this nation’s history,” said Richard Neal, vice president and general and legal counsel for HMMA. “These bronze plaques are a wonderful addition to this museum and Hyundai is happy to have played a role in this project.”
The roundels themselves can be described by their titles: “Car Pooling,” “The Lone Passenger,” “Rosa Parks’ Arrest,” “Victory Ride,” “Refusing to Ride,” “Police Surveillance,” “Protesting Injustice,” “Mass Meeting,” “Empty Parked Buses” and “Foot Soldiers Sharing a Ride.”
Mr. Hawkins, who designed the roundels while a college student in South Carolina, was recognized for his portrait of Mrs. Parks, which was presented to her at the dedication of the Rosa Parks Library and Museum on Dec. 1, 2000.
Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama, headquartered in Montgomery, Alabama, is an independent manufacturing operation of Hyundai Motor Company, based in Seoul, Korea. HMMA currently produces the 2007 Sonata sedan and the Santa Fe sport utility vehicle. At full capacity, HMMA can produce 300,000 vehicles annually. Hyundai cars and sport utility vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced by more than 800 Hyundai dealerships.
Hyundai has been a major supporter of the Arts in the Montgomery community and was recently recognized for their support by the Montgomery Area Business Committee for the Arts when they received the 2007 Virginia and Robert S. Weil Arts in Education Award.