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Celebration honors woman who refused to give up seat on bus in Middlesex

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by Barbara Ciara, WTKR

MIDDLESEX, Va. (WTKR) - Rosa Parks is known as the First Lady of the Civil Rights Movement for refusing to give up her seat on a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955. That act is noted as a pivotal moment in the Civil Rights Movement.

But did you know that 11 years earlier, a Virginia woman refused to give up her seat on a Greyhound bus in Middlesex County, Virginia.

It was an act of defiance which led to the integration of buses nationwide and set the stage for desegregation battles for years to come.

Irene Morgan’s story has been mostly overlooked by history books, but in 2001, President Bill Clinton awarded her the Presidential Citizen’s Medal.

She died in 2007 in Gloucester County. She was 90 years old.

A state historic marker was dedicated to commemorate the landmark civil rights case known as Morgan v. Virginia on Saturday at 10 a.m. The celebration was open to the public and took place at the historic Middlesex County Courthouse in Saluda.