Elected officials and community leaders will come together tonight to honor the late Rosa Parks at Warren AME Church, 915 Collingwood Blvd.
Mrs. Parks, the African-American seamstress whose refusal to give up her bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, Ala., in 1955 helped spark the civil rights movement, died Oct. 24, 2005. She was 92.
The program, which begins at 7 p.m., is sponsored by the city's Better Community Relations Board, the nonprofit arm of the Board of Community Relations, and the community group Save Our Children.
Juanita Greene, executive director of the Board of Community Relations, said Mayor Carty Finkbeiner's office has given full support to the program.
"This has been a labor of love," Ms. Greene said. "She was a great woman, and I'm glad that we're the pacesetters for this."
The Rev. Floyd Rose, a former president of the Toledo branch NAACP and civil rights activist who now lives in Valdosta, Ga., will be the closing speaker. Mr. Rose is the founder of the Save Our Children group.
He is being joined on the program by his brother, Marshall Rose, director of Bowling Green State University's Office of Equality and Diversity.
The program also includes speeches from Mr. Finkbeiner, Toledo Councilman Wilma Brown, and Tina Skeldon Wozniak, president of the Lucas County commissioners.
During the ceremony, five women will be honored for their work in civil rights, politics, business, education, and religion.
The honorees include state Rep. Edna Brown (D., Toledo); Perlean Griffin, Toledo's affirmative action/contract compliance director; Dorothy Day of Day Funeral Home; Lola Glover, executive director of the Coalition for Quality Education, and Deborah Washington, a member of Warren AME Church.
Ms. Greene said she didn't know if the awards will be part of an annual program, but she would like to see some recognition of women in future programs.
In 1989, I-475 was named in honor of Mrs. Parks and "Rosa Parks Highway" signs were erected along the thoroughfare in 1990.
She attended a ceremony in her honor at Scott High School in 1990 when the markers went up. It was one of her few visits to Toledo.