Reverend T. J. Jemison, a leader of the 1953 Baton Rouge bus boycott, died this week at 95. The bus boycott took place before the famous incident of the arrest of Rosa Parks, and foreshadowed the birth of the civil rights struggle in the south. Rev. Jemison was a founding member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference along with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and Ralph Abernathy.
Below is a statement from President Obama on his death:
Statement by the President on the Passing of Civil Rights Leader Rev. T.J. Jemison
Michelle and I were saddened to hear about the passing of Reverend T. J. Jemison. With visionary spirit and charisma, he led the country’s first boycott of segregated seating on public buses 60 years ago, and he went on to help eradicate legal segregation and improve voting rights laws for disenfranchised Americans. As a founding member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and former president of the National Baptist Convention, he inspired Americans across our country with the courage of his convictions and the depth of his faith.
As we mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Justice, we remember the legacy of trailblazers like T.J. Jemison, and commit ourselves to carrying that legacy forward in the years to come. Our nation is a better place because of Reverend Jemison’s struggle and sacrifice, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and loved ones.