President Obama on Tuesday praised the legacy of civil rights activist Reverend T. J. Jemison, who passed away earlier this month, saying that the nation was a “better place” because of his “struggle and sacrifice.”

“With visionary spirit and charisma, he led the country’s first boycott of segregated seating on public buses 60 years ago, and he went on to help eradicate legal segregation and improve voting rights laws for disenfranchised Americans,” said Obama in a statement.

“As a founding member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and former president of the National Baptist Convention, he inspired Americans across our country with the courage of his convictions and the depth of his faith,” he added.

Jemison died on Nov. 15 in Baton Rouge at the age of 95.

In 1953, he organized the Baton Rouge bus boycott to protest segregation, two years before Rosa Parks gained national attention with her protest in Montgomery, Ala.