Home US Martha White, 99, Dies; Before Rosa Parks, She Sparked a Bus Boycott

Martha White, 99, Dies; Before Rosa Parks, She Sparked a Bus Boycott

Martha White, 99, Dies; Before Rosa Parks, She Sparked a Bus Boycott

Two years later, Dr. King visited Mr. Jemison’s Mount Zion Church to learn the way the boycott had been organized. Ms. White was amongst those that sat within the pews to see him, certainly one of her nephews, John Denman, mentioned in an interview.

Dr. King would use a few of the identical techniques in Montgomery — organizing various transportation strategies, involving the church buildings and retaining the protests nonviolent. That boycott, which lasted 381 days and ended with a triumphant courtroom ruling, diverted consideration from Baton Rouge.

However over time, varied writings and theatrical productions, and particularly a 2004 documentary by Louisiana Public Broadcasting referred to as “Signpost to Freedom: The 1953 Baton Rouge Bus Boycott,” have reclaimed its place in historical past.

Martha White was born on April 2, 1922, in Woodville, Miss., within the southwest a part of the state, certainly one of seven kids of Ephraim and Viola White, who had been sharecroppers. Her mom died when Martha was in her early teenagers, and afterward her uncles introduced her and a few of her siblings to Baton Rouge. She later earned her highschool equivalency diploma.

Ms. White had a short marriage that resulted in divorce and went to work as a housekeeper. Along with her wages, she was in a position to purchase her own residence in Baton Rouge, the place she lived for a lot of the remainder of her life.

Along with Mr. Denman, she is survived by a number of different nieces and nephews. Certainly one of her siblings, Isaac White Sr., a barber, ran White’s Barber School in Cell, Ala., and have become a pillar of the neighborhood. He died in 2019.

Ms. White’s determination to take a seat within the white part of the bus had a long-lasting impact on the Baton Rouge Bus Firm. Not solely did it change the principles for passengers; it additionally finally employed Black workers. Mr. Denman obtained a job there in 1966 and rose to supervisor earlier than he retired after 43 years.

A few of her different family nonetheless work on the firm, now referred to as Capital Space Transit System, Mr. Denman mentioned, including, “Her bloodline is deep into that bus line.”


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