Obama 'saddened' by death of civil rights leader T.J. Jemison

President Obama said Tuesday he was "saddened" to learn of the death of Reverend T.J. Jemison, a civil rights pioneer who organized the first boycott against segregated buses. 

Jemison, 95, was a founding member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and a former president of the National Baptist Convention.

"He inspired Americans across our country with the courage of his convictions and the depth of his faith," the president said in a statement.

ADVERTISEMENT
Jemison's experience organizing a bus boycott in Baton Rouge, La., served as the model for the Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott organized by Martin Luther King Jr. after the arrest of Rosa Parks. 

He was also a pioneer of voter registration efforts, improving services for black families through boosting their presence on the rolls.

"As we mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Justice, we remember the legacy of trailblazers like T.J. Jemison, and commit ourselves to carrying that legacy forward in the years to come," Obama said. "Our nation is a better place because of Reverend Jemison’s struggle and sacrifice, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and loved ones."