Saluda ceremony to honor civil rights pioneer

- Posted on Sep 19, 2012 - 01:14 PM

A ceremony to dedicate a highway marker honoring civil rights pioneer Irene Morgan Kirkaldy will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 13, at Middlesex County’s historical courthouse building on General Puller Highway in Saluda.

The program is being sponsored by the Middlesex County Museum and Historical Society, Inc., and the Middlesex County NAACP.

Kirkaldy (1917-2007), one of our nation’s civil rights pioneers, played a pivotal role in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision banning segregation in interstate travel in 1946.

On July 16, 1944, she refused to give up her seat on a Greyhound bus to a white passenger. After a struggle with Middlesex County law enforcement, she was arrested and detained. Convicted by the state, she appealed all the way to the United States Supreme Court with the help of NAACP attorneys Spottswood W. Robinson III and Thurgood Marshall, among others. This case helped set precedent for later battles waged against segregation.

The dedication will be held at the historical courthouse building on General Puller Highway in Saluda. Heartfelt thanks to the Middlesex County Board of Supervisors for their assistance in providing the use of the building and grounds.