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Baton Rouge Civil Rights leader to be laid to rest Monday

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BATON ROUGE - Local civil rights leader Earline Williams is set to be laid to rest Monday. Williams was instrumental in one of the first bus boycotts in the country, right here in Baton Rouge.

"She was out there in forefront. She stood tall," said Mada McDonald, a friend of Earline Williams. "She was short, but she stood tall." 

McDonald says Williams was like a second mother to her. She went to school and church with Williams' family, and Williams was a strong influence in her life.

"It was her, and many others, who helped me become the woman that I am today," McDonald said. 

Williams died earlier in July at 101 years old. The educator played an important role in the 1953 Bus Boycott in Baton Rouge.

Civil Rights attorney Johnnie Jones worked with Williams on the bus boycott. He went on to be hired by civil rights legend Rev. T.J. Jemison, who launched the Baton Rouge Boycott.

"She was staunch member of Mount Zion Baptist Church and loyal supporter of Reverend Jemison," Jones said.

Jones says Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. used the Baton Rouge as a guide for the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which would come two years later.

Now, a bench in front of the McKinley High School Alumni Center stands as a monument to 1953 Bus Boycott. It's permanent reminder of the efforts taken by people like Earline Williams to end racial segregation in Baton Rouge.

Williams funeral is set to take place Monday at Mount Zion Baptist Church, the place where she once worshipped.


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