Jim Crow laws stopped this Black woman from trying on a wedding dress. At 94, her dream came true.

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Martha Tucker, 94, fulfills her dream of trying on a wedding dress 70 years after Jim Crow laws forbid her from entering a bridal store.
Martha Tucker, 94, fulfills her dream of trying on a wedding dress 70 years after Jim Crow laws forbid her from entering a bridal store.

Seventy years after Jim Crow laws blocked a Black woman from trying on wedding dresses, she finally was able to fulfill her dream at age 94.

Martha Tucker was not allowed into Alabama bridal stores in 1952 when she got married.

"When I got married, people of color could not go into any store or buy nothing,” Tucker told USA TODAY. "It was just my dream, but it didn’t happen."

She married Lehman Tucker Sr. in a small ceremony wearing a navy blue mermaid-style dress.

Then Tucker went on to work for civil rights leaders in Alabama and began advocating for voting rights in 1963 when she became a poll worker.

In 1975, her husband died, leaving behind four children. Although she never remarried, she always kept her dream wedding dress in mind.

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Tucker was watching one of her favorite movies, "Coming to America," when she whispered that dream, and one of her granddaughters, Angela Strozier, heard it.

“I’ve always wanted to try on a wedding dress,’' Strozier overheard her grandmother say.

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Strozier, along with some family members, decided to set up an appointment at a local David's Bridal store.

On July 3, the 94-year-old got her makeup done in the car and went into the store to find her long-awaited dress.

“When I heard her story, that made it all the more special,” Mary Adams, a bridal stylist at David’s Bridal, told The Washington Post. “Being a young Black woman, I felt sorrow that she wasn’t able to experience something that every young girl looks forward to – their wedding day.”

With help from Adams, Tucker picked out a V-neck, shear-sleeved wedding dress with a crystal-beaded waistband.

“Awww look at me,” she said when she emerged.

Strozier said her family, store staff and other brides gathered around to support the women who was once denied a dress because of her race.

"I cried, and I think we all did. Even the other brides trying on dresses were crying," Strozier said. "Not just because of the sweetness of the moment, but to see how she looked at herself in the mirror."

Martha Tucker, 94, fulfills her dream of trying on a wedding dress 70 years after Jim Crow laws forbid her from entering a bridal store.
Martha Tucker, 94, fulfills her dream of trying on a wedding dress 70 years after Jim Crow laws forbid her from entering a bridal store.

Tucker tried on a second dress that included a garter, and although she didn't buy a dress that day, she was grateful for the experience.

"My dream has come true, and I don’t need to try on any more," Tucker said.

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Follow reporter Asha Gilbert @Coastalasha. Email: agilbert@usatoday.com.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Black Alabama woman fulfills dream of wearing a wedding dress at 94

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