Irene Morgan v. Commonwealth of Virginia

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Born April 9, 1917 Irene Morgan grew up in Gloucester County, Virginia. On July 16, 1944 she rode the bus from Virginia to Baltimore to see her doctor. As more White passengers got on the bus in Middlesex County, Virginia the driver asked her to give up her seat to the white passengers and stand. She refused, was arrested, and eventually convicted of violating segregation laws. The NAACP appealed her conviction in the Supreme Court and on June 3, 1946 in Irene Morgan v. Commonwealth of Virginia it was decided that the Virginia segregation law was unconstitutional on interstate commerce. This meant Virginia could not enforce segregation on buses traveling from one state to another. Her case was one of the first in many Supreme Court Cases that challenged segregation. She went on to marry and pursue an education, while her contributions to the Civil Rights Movement faded into the background. In 1985 she graduated from Saint John’s University and went on to receive a master’s degree from Queens College in 1990. In 2001 her accomplishments were finally recognized when she was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal in recognition of her bravery and heroic actions. Many Black women contributed to landmark legislation and actions during the Civil Rights Movement but don’t get the recognition they deserve. Irene Morgan v. Virginia set legal precedents that led to the complete desegregation of public transportation over a decade later. No contribution to the Civil Rights Movement was too small, and all deserve recognition in the story that is the dismantling of Jim Crow.

Irene Morgan passed August 10,2007 image source: encyclopediavirginia.org

Irene Morgan passed August 10,2007 image source: encyclopediavirginia.org

Andreia WardlawComment