Martha White dies, sparked ’53 Louisiana capital bus boycott

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Martha White, a Black girl whose actions helped launch the 1953 bus boycotts in Louisiana’s capital metropolis, has died. She was 99.

White died Saturday, her household and others confirmed.

White, then 23, was working as a housekeeper within the capital metropolis of Baton Rouge in 1953 when she took motion. After a protracted day of strolling to and from work whereas searching for to achieve her bus cease, she determined to sit down in one of many solely bus seats out there — one designated for white passengers.

When the motive force ordered her to stand up, White refused and one other Black girl sat beside her in solidarity. The bus driver threatened to have the ladies arrested. Ultimately police, the bus firm supervisor and a civil rights activist, the Rev. T.J. Jemison, confirmed up. Jemison knowledgeable the motive force of a lately handed ordinance to desegregate buses within the metropolis, which means White wasn’t violating any guidelines.

In response to the ordinance, bus drivers started a strike and the ordinance was later overturned. That prompted a boycott by the Black neighborhood in Baton Rouge.

Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome issued an announcement Monday recognizing White’s contribution to the town’s civil rights motion.

“Martha White undoubtedly shaped our community in Baton Rouge, and communities across our nation,” Broome mentioned. “We honor her legacy today and every day.”

That boycott later helped present the framework for the well-known effort sparked by Rosa Parks that led to a bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955.

Ted Jemison, the son of the Rev. T.J. Jemison, remembered White as being outspoken and unafraid to share her opinion. He informed The Advocate of a dialog he had together with her years in the past about that day. He recalled her telling him she simply wished to sit down in that bus seat as a result of she was drained from being on her toes continually that day.

”‘Can you imagine working on your feet all day and just wanting to sit down?’” Jemison recalled White as saying. “She was the same way from when she was young to when she was 90 years old. She knew that what she did was for the good of everyone in Baton Rouge.”

“We really lost a true pioneer for civil rights,” mentioned Jason Roberts, co-owner of the Baton Rouge African American Museum, talking of White’s loss of life, the newspaper reported.

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