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Clinton Marks Anniversary of Historic Montgomery Bus Boycott

  • Associated Press

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton greets and gives a thumbs-up to Fred Gray, Rosa Parks' former attorney, before speaking at the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, Dec. 1, 2015, in Montgomery, Alabama.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton greets and gives a thumbs-up to Fred Gray, Rosa Parks' former attorney, before speaking at the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, Dec. 1, 2015, in Montgomery, Alabama.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will mark the 60th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott as she speaks Tuesday at the historic Alabama church that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. pastored during the successful fight against bus segregation.

Clinton will speak from the same pulpit at Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church where King preached his Sunday sermons as pastor of the church from 1954 to 1960.

King's daughter, Bernice King, is scheduled to give the benediction.

Fred Gray, the lawyer who represented the women who sued to overturn the segregated bus seating ordinance, will also speak.

Clinton's speech falls on the anniversary of Rosa Parks' Dec. 1, 1955, arrest for refusing to give her bus seat to a white passenger. Her arrest sparked the 381-day boycott of Montgomery buses by blacks to protest segregated seating.

In stops in the South, the Democratic presidential front-runner has been working to solidify her advantage among African-American voters.

Black voters make up a major portion of the Democratic primary electorate in Southern states holding early primaries in 2016.

A crowd was slowly filling the church Tuesday morning. A line stretched down the block for the limited seating in the small historic church that holds 350 people.

The front of the church was decorated with garland and poinsettias and an illuminated cross hung above the pulpit. People were slowly taking their places in the burgundy cushioned church pews.

“She is going to be president,” retired elementary school principal Maggie Stringer, 80, said emphatically. “At least I can say I did see her and I've been in her presence.”

Stringer was a 20-year-old student and a member of the church during the Bus Boycott.

“Oh, the energy. As someone said, the cup was full. It just spilled out and it seemed like it reached everybody,” Stringer said.

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