Johnnie Carr


Johnnie Carr, who joined childhood friend Rosa Parks in the historic Montgomery bus boycott and became a prominent civil rights activist over the past half century, has died. She was 97.

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

Carr succeeded the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. as president of the Montgomery Improvement Association in 1967, a post she held at her death. It was the newly formed association that led the boycott of city buses in the Alabama capital after Parks, a black seamstress, was arrested in December 1955 for refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a crowded bus.

The boycott, which lasted more than a year, led to a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down racial segregation on public transportation. It also brought national attention to King who would become the most prominent leader of the civil rights movement and a Nobel Peace Prize winner.

As the association's president, Carr helped lead several initiatives to improve race relations and conditions for blacks. She was involved in a lawsuit to desegregate Montgomery schools, with her son, Arlam, the named plaintiff.

She played a prominent role in 2005 on the 50th anniversary of Parks' refusal to give up her bus seat, speaking to thousands of schoolchildren who marched to the Capitol.

"Look back, but march forward," Carr urged the huge crowd of young people.

Just days before her stroke, Carr participated in King Day ceremonies in Montgomery, speaking after a parade. Admirers marveled at her energy and commitment into her 90s.

"She was always an encourager and not a divider," Mayor Bobby Bright told the Montgomery Advertiser. "She was just a loving person. She was truly the mother figure that we all so desperately needed in Montgomery during a very trying period of our history."

The family said funeral arrangements would be announced later.

Ragland, the hospital spokeswoman, said Carr's family said she had turned 97 last month.

In recent decades, civil rights landmarks, including the site where Parks was arrested, have become historic points of interest for tourists.

"When we first started, we weren't thinking about history," Carr told The Associated Press in an interview in 2003. "We were thinking about the conditions and the discrimination."
Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press

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Ms. Johnnie Carr spoke to my youth group from New Bethlehem Baptist Church at Dexter Ave Baptist Church in 1989 we had travel from St. Louis. All of those kids that went on that trip may not even remember But today Ms. I Thank you they are grown now but I am going to make them remember you ...Job well done Rest in peace.

I have never met Mrs.Carr before but from what I am am reading on these websites I know that she is a very nice lady. My brother met her and he said she was nice and pretty. I had tears going down my face when i read this for the first time about her.(Mrs./Dr.) Johnnie Carr you will always be missed and still loved.

Mrs. jonnnie carr we deeply miss you and thank you for helping changing lives for the african americans.


Mrs. (Dr.) Johnnie Carr,
We are so grateful for you and all those whom have made such valiant sacrifices in and for the cause of OTHERS. The scripture so vividly admonishes us to . . . "think on the things of others."

You have marched long, a "Foot Solider," and seemingly without tiring.
But now, you have come to the close your day, and your battle is over.

But, we have and are armed with the frequent exhortations of your words to . . ....

Freedom we dream
a world of peace
no sickness and pain
Where the old become young
and the the dead live again
Where we all live together
in harmony no wars
all will be equal
some thing she worked hard for

"At that time the eyes of the blind ones will be opened, and the very ears of the deaf ones will be unstopped. At that time the lame one will climb up just as a stag does, and the tongue of the speechless one wil cry out in...

Our thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of grief. May your memories bring you comfort.

Mother Carr (Always my mother in law), will be missed by each of you, and it is an honor that you shared her with the world. We know that she is resting in that mansion that our Father prepared for her. Sleep on Mother Carr, we all loved you, but God loved you best.