Ala. Considering Mass Pardon

Bob Johnson, AP, March 17, 2006

MONTGOMERY, Ala.—Alabama lawmakers are considering pardoning hundreds, possibly thousands, of people who were arrested decades ago for violating Alabama’s segregation laws.

The idea of a mass pardon gained traction after the death last year of civil rights icon Rosa Parks, a Black woman who had refused to give up her bus seat to a White man half a century earlier.

Even though the law allowing segregated seating on city buses was eventually overturned, Parks’ conviction is still on the record, Rep. Thad McClammy said.

“This is something that’s long overdue. It’s something aimed at giving the state a forward look,” he said.

His proposed “Rosa Parks Act” would pardon everyone ever arrested under the state’s segregation laws, which date to the state’s 1901 constitution.

A House committee approved the bill Thursday, sending it to the full House for debate.

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“I can’t imagine anyone opposing this,” Republican Rep. Steve McMillan said.

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