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SPLC statement on the passing of Jeannie Graetz

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Jeannie Graetz, who with her late husband, the Rev. Robert S. Graetz Jr., supported the Montgomery Bus Boycott and endured bombs and threats as a white couple aiding the historic boycott, died this morning. Her death comes approximately three months after her husband died at 92 from complications of Parkinson’s disease.

Southern Poverty Law Center Civil Rights Memorial Center Director Tafeni English issued the following statement:

“We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Jeannie Graetz. In addition to her love of family, she demonstrated a profound love of community throughout her life, whether it was during the Montgomery Bus Boycott or her later work at the National Center for the Study of Civil Rights and African-American Culture at Alabama State University in Montgomery.

“When Jeannie’s husband became ill, she committed herself to leading the work of the Graetz Symposium, an annual conference supporting the civil rights movement, a partnership with the national center at ASU. During the most recent symposium, she spoke about how important its work was to her and the greater community.

“Jeannie was also a lifelong learner, earning a bachelor’s degree at age 85. She was truly an inspiration to everyone who met her. Today, we honor her life – a life defined by service, commitment and community.”