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Tennessee governor signs Rosa Parks bill pardoning segregation-era activists

[JURIST] Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen [official website] Thursday signed legislation which starting on July 1 will allow those who were convicted for protesting laws designed to enforce racial segregation to receive a full pardon and to have their criminal records destroyed. The Rosa Parks Act [bill information], named after the late Alabama civil rights activist, also allows an estate of a deceased activist to have the activist's records expunged. Some activists said they would not seek a pardon, as they are proud of their records and what the arrest represented. The bill contains an exemption for records used for educational purposes, displayed in public museums or libraries.

Last year, Alabama Governor Bob Reily signed into law [JURIST report] the original version of the Rosa Parks Act [text; JURIST report], which does not provide for destruction of records, but instead requires the records to be transferred to the Alabama Department of Archives and History [official website]. A Florida version [text] of the Rosa Parks Act died in the Florida state senate [procedural history] earlier this year. AP has more.

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