Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome issued a statement Monday recognizing White’s contribution to the city’s civil rights movement.
“Martha White undoubtedly shaped our community in Baton Rouge, and communities across our nation,” Broome said. “We honor her legacy today and every day.”
That boycott later helped provide the framework for the famous effort sparked by Rosa Parks that led to a bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955.
Ted Jemison, the son of the Rev. T.J. Jemison, remembered White as being outspoken and unafraid to share her opinion. He told The Advocate of a conversation he had with her years ago about that day. He recalled her telling him she just wanted to sit in that bus seat because she was tired from being on her feet constantly that day.
”‘Can you imagine working on your feet all day and just wanting to sit down?’” Jemison recalled White as saying. “She was the same way from when she was young to when she was 90 years old. She knew that what she did was for the good of everyone in Baton Rouge.”
"We really lost a true pioneer for civil rights," said Jason Roberts, co-owner of the Baton Rouge African American Museum, speaking of White's death, the newspaper reported.
This story has been edited to correct White's age at the time of the boycott. She was 31, not 23.