Tennesseans charged with crimes while protesting segregation-era laws can have their records cleared beginning next month, reports the Associated Press. Gov. Phil Bredesen has signed the Rosa Parks Act into law. The bill was unanimously approved by the Senate and passed the House 88-6. Some civil rights activists have said they will not seek a pardon because they consider their arrest records a badge of honor.
Last year, Alabama became the first state to pass a version of the Rosa Parks Act. The Alabama law grants a pardon, but the criminal records are kept in the state archives for use in museums or for other educational purposes. All records would be destroyed in Tennessee unless there is a specific request to preserve them for public display. Both Tennessee and Alabama would allow posthumous pardons. A similar measure failed in Florida.