February 4, 2014
By Lauren Tyrrell, Institute Communications Office
Sister Mary Vernon Gentle remembers as a girl seeing photographs of Rosa Parks. “She always had this distinctive look,” she said. “She was a seamstress by trade, and always had neat-fitting clothes, a pillbox hat and her hair pulled back in bun.” The two women grew up about 100 miles apart—Mary Vernon in Birmingham, Alabama and Parks to the south in Montgomery.
Mary Vernon’s mother, Marie, was a big proponent of the African-American Civil Rights Movement, even before Parks’ bus strike. “Our family was white but segregated from some towns and social places because we were Catholic,” Mary Vernon said. “My mother became close friends with many African American women, who faced far worse segregation.” Read More