Montgomery Bus Boycott Supporter Jeannie Graetz Dies

Alabama News Network is sad to report the death of longtime civil rights supporter Jeannie Graetz. She and her husband Rev. Robert Graetz were among the few white people who openly supported the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955.

Mrs. Graetz died at her home in Montgomery this morning at the age of 90. She had recently been diagnosed with lung cancer.

She died less than three months after the death of her husband.

They had moved to Montgomery in 1955 when he came here to pastor a Black Lutheran congregation.

They were friends with Rosa Parks, but their support of the bus boycott led to their home being bombed twice.  Later, they moved away from Montgomery, but returned in 2007.

The Montgomery-based Southern Poverty Law Center released this statement about her death:

“We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Jeannie Graetz. In addition to her love of family, she demonstrated a profound love of community throughout her life, whether it was during the Montgomery Bus Boycott or her later work at the National Center for the Study of Civil Rights and African-American Culture at Alabama State University in Montgomery.

“When Jeannie’s husband became ill, she committed herself to leading the work of the Graetz Symposium, an annual conference supporting the civil rights movement, a partnership with the national center at ASU. During the most recent symposium, she spoke about how important its work was to her and the greater community.

“Jeannie was also a lifelong learner, earning a bachelor’s degree at age 85. She was truly an inspiration to everyone who met her. Today, we honor her life – a life defined by service, commitment and community.”

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