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Charles Langford, 84; Rosa Parks' lawyer and Alabama politician

February 14, 2007|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Charles Langford, 84, a former Alabama state senator who fought in key civil rights legal battles as a lawyer for Rosa Parks and the organization that launched the historic Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott, died Sunday in his sleep at his home in Montgomery, said his niece, Audrey Anderson.

Born Dec. 9, 1922, in Montgomery, Langford earned a bachelor's degree from Tennessee State University and a law degree from Catholic University in Washington. He passed the Alabama bar exam in 1953 and opened a law practice in Montgomery.

He soon became involved in legal battles that shaped Alabama, including representing Parks after she was arrested in 1955 for refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus to a white man.

Her arrest inspired the Montgomery Improvement Assn., then led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., to launch the boycott and pursue litigation that led to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling ending segregation on public transportation.

Langford represented Arlam Carr Jr. in a 1964 suit that desegregated Montgomery's public schools. He also represented black legislators in a lawsuit that ended the flying of the Confederate flag on the state Capitol dome in 1993.

Langford was elected to the Alabama House in 1976 and served two terms before moving on to the state Senate in 1982, where he served five terms. He retired in 2002.

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