Produced on January 26, 1911, in Montgomery, Alabama, Johnnie Carr became youth manager and secretary of Montgomery’s NAACP in the 1940s. Carr played a crucial part in the Montgomery Bus Boycott. In 1965, she won a suit from the Montgomery County Board of Education. Her dad, John, an area farmer, died when she was 9 years old. Johnnie’s mom, Annie, was a domestic servant from Richmond, Virginia.
Decided that her daughter would get a sound education, Annie procured Johnnie a position in a private school for African American girls. Initially called the Montgomery Industrial School for Girls, it’d since been renamed Miss White’s Industrial School for Girls. While a pupil there, Johnnie befriended her classmate Rosa McCauley, who’d eventually be known as Rosa Parks, the iconic civil rights activist.
In 1927, when she was only sixteen, Johnnie’s school closed and she made a decision to marry a guy named Jack Jordan, rather than weight her mom with all the adversity of caring for her. The union resulted in two daughters, Anna Bell and Alma Lee, before eventually finishing in divorce.
In 1931, she raised cash to cover the legal counsel of nine African American defendants falsely accused of rape what would become known as the Scottsboro Trials. Working together with the NAACP also brought her in touch with her childhood friend, Rosa Parks. In her private life, Johnnie remarried in 1944 to Arlam Carr. Collectively they had one son, Arlam Carr Jr., and stayed married until Arlam Carr’s departure in 2005.
When Parks was arrested, the Montgomery Improvement Association, subsequently headed by Martin Luther King Jr., established a citywide boycott of public buses. Carr played a fundamental part in the behind the scenes organization of the following 381-daylong boycott. She gave boycotters rides, fed protestors and gave speeches at rallies around the united states. In 1956 the boycott finished with all the Supreme Court’s decision to desegregate the Montgomery public transportation system.
In 1964, Carr and her husband were involved with a national suit from the Montgomery County Board of Education to desegregate Montgomery schools. Through her work together with the group, Carr mostly strove to enhance relationships between blacks and whites in the South.
In 1969, Judge Frank M. Johnson Jr. declared his opinion in the Carr vs. Montgomery Board of Education case: The school board had been illegally dividing itself into two independent parts for coping with black and white pupils. Consequently, the Carrs’ son became among the first 13 black pupils to attend the previously all-white Sidney Lanier High School in Montgomery.
Carr continued president of the Montgomery Improvement Association for the remainder of her life. She also became active together with the United Way plus One Montgomery. Following her departure, cofounder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, Morris Dees, called Carr “among the three leading icons of the Civil Rights Movement,” mentioning Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks as the other two.