Throughout recent history, buses have played an important role for collective action for social change.
From Rosa Parks’ stand against segregation and the Montgomery boycotts, to the Freedom Riders, buses have played a critical role in uniting the civil rights movement while moving people to action both literally and figuratively.
The Moving Monuments is a public art project meant to reflect the shared ideals and values of Precinct One, and to elevate social justice heroes who broke down barriers, fought for equality, and led movements toward justice. Who and what we choose to publicly honor should reflect our shared values and an accurate portrayal of history. We hope that seeing these heroes around Precinct One inspires you to take action in your life to fight for the rights of others in the face of injustice.
Cesar Chavez (1927-1993) started his life-long activism by simply helping labor workers register to vote. From there he went on to become the director of the Community Service Organization, co-found what would later become the United Farm Workers of America Union, and help create a movement that would long outlive him. Chavez, a champion of nonviolent social change, was a true American hero.
Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) was a 19th century African American orator, abolitionist, author, social reformer, and freed slave. Douglass reminds us that protesting can be a patriotic act and part of meaningful change. He also realized that only dedicated, persistent protests and activism could deliver the nation from the ever-present tyranny of slavery and racism.
In 1961, the original Freedom Riders traveled across the United States breaking down barriers, fighting for equality, and demanding justice (map of route). As we continue to face voter suppression legislation and structural racism within our society, including the mass incarceration of communities of color, the Freedom Riders Moving Monument reminds us that together we have come so far but still have more victories in the future. 360 Video
Dolores Huerta (1930-) is one of the most influential civil rights icons alive today. She has dedicated her life to improving working conditions for farmworkers and is an example of just how powerful political organizing can be. She is the co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America union and coined the battle cry “Si, se puede” or “yes, we can.” Even now at 90 years old, she is still working and inspiring so many across our country and the world.
Barbara Jordan (1936-1996) broke many barriers during her career as a lawyer, politician and Civil Rights activist. Born and raised in Fifth Ward, she was the first African-American to be elected to the Texas Senate after Reconstruction and was also the first Southern African-American woman to be elected to the United States House of Representatives. She is also remembered for her eloquent and powerful opening remarks at the Nixon impeachment.
Rev. Bill Lawson (1928-) peacefully led Houston’s Civil Rights Movement. His skillful negotiations were key in the desegregation of Houston. To this day, Rev. Lawson has used the power of the pulpit at Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church to be a voice of conscience, connect communities, build inter-faith coalitions and advocate for criminal justice reforms and services for the poor.
From fighting racial injustices in Houston to hunger in Africa, Mickey Leland (1944-1989) served our community with the goal of making the world better for all of us. Mickey was a champion for the people who understood that hunger and poverty anywhere affects us all. During a humanitarian mission in Ethiopia, the congressman and 15 others died in a tragic plane crash. He remains ever present in our hearts and his commitment to improving the lives of everyone remains an inspiration.
Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) served as the 16th president of the United States until he was assassinated in April of 1865. He led the United States through the Civil War and abolished slavery in the US by issuing the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. Overcoming failure, loss and tragedy, Lincoln rose from a poor farm boy to one of the most revered figures in U.S. history.
Ann Richards (1933-2006) served as the governor of Texas from 1991-1995. She served Texas as a county commissioner and Texas state treasurer before her time as governor and continued to speak up for Texas residents and national issues for the remainder of her life. Richards was dedicated to knocking down barriers and appointed a record number of women and minorities to state boards and agencies while she was governor.
Before heavyweight champion boxer Jack Johnson, four-time Olympic gold medalist Jesse Owens and baseball great Jackie Robinson broke racial barriers within the world of sports, Marshall Taylor (1878 - 1932), known simply as Major Taylor, captured the world’s respect and adoration as America’s first Black sports hero when he won the 1899 World Cycling Championship in Montreal, Canada. Throughout his rise to the top of his sport, Major Taylor overcame abject racism and brutal racing conditions.
Harriet Tubman (1820-1913) was an escaped slave who risked her freedom time and time again to help other enslaved people escape through what is known as the Underground Railroad. Tubman is also considered the first African American woman to serve in the military; she fought for the Union during the Civil War. After the war, she fought for women’s suffrage and established the Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged.