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Mary Louise Smith (Ware)

Mary Louise Smith(Ware) was born 1937, in Montgomery, Alabama and has lived there since her birth. She is the third of six children, four boys and two girls. Her parents both deceased, are the late Frank and Alberta Smith. Her mother died at the age of 42 when Mary was 15, leaving Janie, the oldest sister to become the surrogate mother of the family. Her father never remarried and worked two jobs to take care of his young family.

Mary in
the back with her arms around two of her male
classmates and the rest of her class mates in high
school. ENLARGE

Mary and all her siblings attended and graduated from St. Jude Educational Institute. A devout Catholic, she is still a member of St.Jude Church where she was baptized.

At the age of 18, October 21, 1955 ,Mary returning home on the city line bus was ordered to relinquish her seat for a white passenger, in which she refused. Her stand landed her in jail and she was charged with failure to obey segregation orders, some 40 days before the arrest of Rosa Parks on similar charges. Her father bailed her from jail, paid her fine. The incident was unknown except for family and neighbors.

Mary and her baby. ENLARGE

Her arrest was made known at a mass meeting by a cousin. Attorney Fred Gray asked Mary and her father for Mary to become a plaintiff in a civil rights class action law suit to end segregated seating. Her father agreed for he wanted justice for her unlawful arrest.

Mary would find out later in 1995 by a news reporter that she was discussed as being a test case by black leaders. They could not find anything negative about Mary but she was not chosen because it was said her father was a drunk. The untrue allegation bothers her more than the exclusion and ignoring of her contributions by Montgomery black leaders for nearly 48 years.

Mary Louise, her children and nephews. ENLARGE

Mary continued to work for civil rights beyond the boycott and trial. She worked on voting rights campaigns and attended the March on Washington. Her sister Annie's son was a plaintiff in the law suit to desegregate the Y.M.C.A.

Mary Louise (L)and her brother and sister. ENLARGE

Today you will find her active with her twelve grandchildren and great grands. Mary married and divorced, raised four children. Her most enjoyable hobby is reading and she is active in several of her church auxiliaries and senior citizen clubs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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