Local civil rights activist laid to rest

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BLOOMINGTON (WEEK) — A local civil rights activist was laid to rest Wednesday in Bloomington as friends and family gathered to celebrate the life of Merlin Kennedy.

Kennedy was a community leader known for civil rights movements he led during his time as the president of the Bloomington-Normal NAACP.

His protests include store boycotts, voter registration rallies and most notably for defying city ordinances by dressing as “black Santa” during Christmas parade in the 1960s.

Kennedy is remembered as a trailblazer who paved the way for so many.

“The things that he did to allow us to be where we at today. His commitment, his passion for people and just doing the right thing. He stood on ensuring that everybody is given the same opportunity and he worked toward that,” Bloomington-Normal NAACP President said.

Kennedy was also known for his efforts related to the fair housing act in the twin cities.

Stephanie Rodriguez

Stephanie Rodriguez

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