by Eric Velasco
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- Six women were pardoned Tuesday, July 5, 2011, for their 1963 convictions in Birmingham for parading without a permit while protesting segregation-era laws.
The pardons were presented by Mayor William Bell during the Birmingham City Council meeting. They were approved by the city's Board of Pardons and Paroles under a city law known as the Rosa Parks Act.
The pardons were for Betty J. King, Carolyn Louise King, Gwendolyn L. King, Patricia Rose Wooding, Sandra R. Wooding and Mariea Wooding. Betty King, now known as BJ Love King, initiated the request for pardons for convictions of violating a city ordinance, according to a city news release. She and her sisters, Carolyn King and the late Gwendolyn King, were the daughters of Rev. Floyd King, Sr.
In 1964, Carolyn King, now known as C. Tasmiya King-Miller, integrated Jones Valley High School. In 2002, a street near the school was dedicated in her name.
Patricia Wooding Davis and Sandra Wooding Eastland, the daughters of Norman Wooding Jr., were active in the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference during the civil rights era. Mariea Wooding, the daughter of Frank Wooding, participated in desegregation protests in Alabama and Tennessee.
All six women were active as students in civil-rights era protests in Birmingham and all participated in the historic March on Washington in 1963.
Patricia Wooding Davis and Gwendolyn King were pardoned posthumously.
The city's Rosa Parks Act, named for one of the icons of the civil rights movement, was passed in 2009. It is modeled on a 2006 state law passed to provide pardons to the hundreds of people arrested and convicted for protesting segregationist laws that later were overturned.