BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Betty Claiborne, who was arrested in 1963 for trying to integrate a public swimming pool in Baton Rouge, has died, according to Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome. Her funeral was held Wednesday, Jan. 15 at Allen Chapel AME Church.
Tons of family and friends attended the funeral to remember the civil rights activist who gave so much to her community.
“These are not tears of sadness because she is right here. We are all of her children,” said Shaheed Claiborne, her son.
“The freedoms, especially as African Americans, we would not be able to enjoy them if it wasn’t for people like her. When we look at the civil rights history of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Rev. Betty Claiborne is embedded in the fabric of civil rights here in our city and in our parish,” said East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome.
“My dear friend, thank you for the mark you made on my life, in addition to countless others," said Doug Welborn, EBR clerk of court.
Broome announced the update in a Sunday afternoon morning tweet, saying Claiborne died Saturday, Jan. 12.
“She was a shining example of inspiration and passion for all of us,” Broome’s tweet said.
“Rev. Betty Claiborne was a shining example of inspiration and passion for all of us. Her sacrifice and fight for civil rights is a testament of living on purpose,” said Broome in a statement issued later.
When she was 20-years-old, Claiborne was arrested when she tried to integrate the white-only City Park pool in Baton Rouge, according to a 2015 article from The Advocate.
After her arrest, Claiborne and her sister, Pearl George, took their case to the Supreme Court, which ruled the segregation of recreational facilities was unconstitutional.
In 2005, former Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco pardoned Claiborne as part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations. Claiborne, who became a reverend, told The Associated Press she wanted her conviction removed from her record because it was keeping her from receiving a degree in theology.