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US civil rights icon Johnnie Carr remembered for nurturing and unshakeable strength

US civil rights icon Johnnie Carr remembered for nurturing and unshakeable strength

The number of people who knew Johnnie Carr as "Mama" is too high to count, even though she had only three children, said those who remembered the civil rights icon at her funeral.
Hundreds attended the service at Alabama State University, where Carr had received an honorary doctorate. The service included prepared statements from President George W. Bush, who called Carr "a true patriot and staunch advocate for civil rights," and Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, who proclaimed "long live the legacy of Mrs. Johnnie Carr and her works."
Carr, a childhood friend of Rosa Parks, helped organize the Montgomery bus boycott over discrimination against blacks, which led to the start of the modern civil rights movement. She died Feb. 22 after suffering a stroke; she was 97.
"Dr. Carr was 'Mama Carr' to me, and the family understands that," state Rep. John Knight said at her funeral Saturday. "She would spank me from time to time. My mother and father needed help with me, and she gave that assistance."
Montgomery Mayor Bobby Bright also remembered Carr as a nurturing mother figure whose small stature belied her firm dedication and fierce determination.
"Thank you, thank you for sharing her with us," Bright said to Carr's family.
A grandmotherly figure who was ever-present at community events, Carr was known for arms that were always open and ready to hug, wise eyes that twinkled and lips that adversity couldn't keep from turning up into frequent, soft smiles.
Carr became president of the Montgomery Improvement Association in 1967, a post that she held until her death.
Her presidency succeeded that of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who was named the original leader of the group. It was formed after the boycott of city buses began in 1955 in protest of Parks' arrest for refusing to relinquish her seat to a white man on a crowded bus.
The U.S. Supreme Court struck down racial segregation on public transportation a year later.


Updated : 2021-03-05 18:27 GMT+08:00