The quest by a civil rights pioneer to have her arrest record wiped clean nearly 70 years after she protested racial segregation has raised the possibility of similar bids to clear the names of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr., whose convictions remain on the books in Alabama’s capital, reports the Associated Press.
Parks, a Black seamstress and activist who was convicted of violating racial segregation laws after refusing to give up her bus seat to a White man in 1955, was convicted of violating racial segregation laws. King, who helped lead the resulting Montgomery Bus Boycott, paid a $500 fine after being convicted in 1956 of violating a law banning boycotts.
Parks refused to pay her $10 fine, and she and King went on to become icons of racial justice and the modern civil rights movement. Yet their cases remain on the books in Montgomery, said civil rights attorney Fred Gray, who represented both.
In the case of King, an up-and-coming pastor at the time, efforts to reverse the conviction in court failed, Gray said.
“We might just decide to file a lawsuit on his behalf to have that record expunged,” Gray said. The same goes for Parks and others, potentially, he said.
The chief prosecutor in Alabama’s capital, Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey, said he would generally support a move to expunge the arrest records of King and Parks, but he’d need to see details of any such request before responding in court