Rosa Parks Act signed into Tennessee law - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Rosa Parks Act signed into Tennessee law

Many Civil Rights protestors can now have their records cleared of charges they picked up while protesting segregation-era laws.

Baltimore police arrested 200 protesters for going to a segregated amusement park. Judge D'Army Bailey was among them.

"It took a lot of courage for all of us to go there facing an unknown situation and know we're going to be locked up because of the protest. I was proud I had courage to go through that and I'm sure all the rest of us do as well," says Bailey.

Charged with criminal trespassing, Judge Bailey spent 36 hours in jail.

Bailey adds, "as Dr. King said, 'to suffer is sometimes redemptive'. I think it helps make you a bigger person, stronger person, more compassionate person, and more determined person."

Today, the mark on Bailey's record is a badge of honor.

Bailey says, "none of us are embarrassed or ashamed of what we did." He says he would have regretted sitting back during the civil rights era.

And he's pleased Governor Phil Bredesen signed the Rosa Parks Act into law.

"I think it's good that people of good will want to make this gesture, but if you ask me how important it is, it's not high on my scale," explains Bailey.

Judge Bailey says if his record is wiped clean so be it.  But the mark on his record has never hurt him.

In fact it's opened doors.  Judge Bailey said his record did delay his admission to the California bar.

But he believes it may have helped him get admitted to Yale because the admissions officers looking at his application and considered him someone of character and sacrifice.

Under Tennessee's Rosa Parks Act those charged protesting segregation can have their records wiped clean.

For more information on the Rosa Parks Act click here.  Search for House Bill 1055, and Senate Bill 1199.


Click here to email Blair Simmons.

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