Civil rights advocate Johnnie Mae Carr dies at 97

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 24, 2008

Staff and wire

Staff and wire

Another soldier in the battle for civil rights has died.

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Johnnie Carr, 97, died Friday evening in Montgomery. She was the head of the Montgomery Improvement Association for years after its successful 1955 bus boycott that helped bring an end to Jim Crow in the South.

Baptist Health hospital spokeswoman Melody Ragland said Carr had been hospitalized after suffering a stroke Feb. 11.

Carr is the second civil rights legend to die this week. The Rev. James Orange, who lead a mass meeting before the Selma-to-Montgomery march, died earlier this week. He was buried in Atlanta on Saturday.

Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr. was traveling with Tuskegee Mayor Johnny Ford, returning from Atlanta where they had been attending funeral services for the Rev. James Orange when they heard the news.

Carr succeeded the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. as president of the Montgomery Improvement Association in 1967, a post she held when she died Friday.

It was the newly formed MIA that led the bus boycott in the state’s capital in 1955 after Rosa Parks, a black seamstress, was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to whites on a crowded bus.