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Civil Rights Champion Johnnie Carr Remembered

MICHEL MARTIN, host:

We want to take a few moments to remember the life of a long-time civil rights activist, Johnnie Rebecca Carr. She passed away Friday night in Montgomery, Alabama. Carr was a childhood friend of Rosa Parks. After Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man in 1955, sparking the historic Montgomery bus boycott, Carr helped organize carpools.

That same year the Montgomery Improvement Association was formed, and Carr became a leading member. She succeeded Martin Luther King, Jr. as the group's president in 1967, a post she held until her death.

Carr continued to speak with groups about civil rights, activism and personal responsibility well into her 90s. Here's a tape of Mrs. Carr speaking to students at Tuskegee Public Elementary School during a black history program.

Ms. JOHNNIE REBECCA CARR (Civil Rights Activist): Some people dream of being high and dream of great things and all that. I am only going to dream of being a soldier, because I love that old hymn that says to serve the present age, my calling to fulfill, o may it all my power engage to do my master's will.

MARTIN: Johnnie Rebecca Carr died in a Montgomery hospital on Friday. She was 97 years old. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.