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Montgomery Bus Boycott

What was the Montgomery Bus Boycott?

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Violette Gibson
November 21, 2019 3:38PM

The Montgomery Bus Boycott, which took place from Dec. 5, 1955, to Dec. 20, 1956, was a civil rights protest during which many African Americans refused to ride city buses in Montgomery, Alabama, to challenge the segregated seating laws. The boycott came four days after Rosa Parks was famously arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white man on the bus.

The boycott, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., proved to be very effective, and on June 5, 1956, a U.S. District Court ruled in Browder v. Gayle that Alabama’s racial segregation laws for buses were unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld this decision on appeal.

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Wiki User
August 18, 2015 7:32AM

The Montgomery (Alabama) Bus Boycott was a civil rights protest designed to use the African-American community's economic power to end racial segregation on Montgomery city buses after Rosa Parks' arrest for refusing to relinquish her seat to a white man. The boycott began on December 4, 1955 and ended December 20, 1956, 381 days later.

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On the evening of December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks left work as a seamstress for Montgomery Fair department store in Montgomery, Alabama. She boarded a city bus, walked past several empty seats in the "whites only" area behind the driver, and sat down in the "colored section" immediately behind the segregation line.

After the bus made three more stops on its route the "whites-only" seats became full, leaving one white men standing. When the driver noticed the man had nowhere to sit, he moved the line marking the whites-only section back one row, and told four African-American passengers, including Rosa Parks, to vacate the seats. The other three immediately stood up, but Parks refused to move. She had experienced problems with this particular driver in the past, and had even been evicted for refusing to enter and exit through the rear door.

The driver ordered Parks to move, or he would have her arrested. Parks indicated she had no intention of moving and told him to go ahead and have her arrested.

A few minutes later, two policemen boarded the bus and confiscated Parks' purse and shopping back, escorting her off the bus and arresting her for violating the city's segregation laws.

Rosa Parks later recalled the incident in an interview, "People always say that I didn't give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn't true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in."

Parks was charged with a misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct, jailed overnight, and released the next day on $100 bond. She appeared before judge John B. Scott in Montgomery Municipal Court on December 4, and was fined $10 plus $4 court costs. Although her attorney, Fred Gray, immediately filed an appeal, he realized the Parks' case could be tied up in Alabama state courts for years.

African-American community leaders, Jo Ann Robinson, an English instructor at Alabama State College and President of Montgomery's Women's Political Council, and E. D. Nixon, President of the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP called a meeting on December 4, 1955, to discuss holding a one-day boycott of the Montgomery City Lines, Inc., bus company.

During the meeting, the group formed a new alliance, the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA), to which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was elected Chairman and President. Dr. King subsequently became the leader of the civil rights action that lasted 381 days. The boycott ended only after the US Supreme Court held segregation in public transportation is unconstitutional and ordered the Montgomery buses integrated (Browder v. Gayle, (1956)).

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The Montgomery Bus Boycott, a event in the U.S. civil rights movement, was a political and social protest campaign against the policy of racial segregation on the public transit system of Montgomery, Alabama. The campaign lasted from December 1, 1955, when Rosa Parks, an African American woman, was arrested for refusing to surrender her seat to a white person, to December 20, 1956, when a federal ruling, Browder v. Gayle, took effect, and led to a United States Supreme Court decision that declared the Alabama and Montgomery laws requiring segregated buses to be unconstitutional. Answer

Basically, A women called Rosa Parks took a bus, and sat in the white persons section, when a white man boarded and demanded her seat, she refused to give it up.

She was then arrested by authorities and sent to jail. Blacks of the community protested with the Montgomery Bus Boycott which basically meant that the blacks wouldn't use the bus system, this would harm the income of the Bus businesses. The action of her was not the first, but a major role that sparked the Black civil rights campaign and segregation protests.



Answer

Rosa Parks
was arrested on December 1, 1955, for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man. Ms. Parks was well-respected within the African-American community, arousing outrage at the way she was treated by the bus company and police. African-American community leaders, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., met to discuss the situation on December 4, and planned a one-day boycott of the Montgomery public transit system for December 5, 1955. What started as a one-day event eventually stretched 381 days, until December 20, 1956, as the community determined not to ride the buses again until they were integrated.

Rosa Parks unsuccessfully challenged the constitutionality of the segregation law in the Alabama state courts, where the appeals process threatened to drag on for years.

Local attorneys Fred Gray and Charles Langford consulted with NAACP Legal Defense Fund attorneys, Robert Carter and Thurgood Marshall, whose successful campaign against segregation in education lead to the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, (1954). Carter and Marshall suggested choosing a new group of plaintiffs who had been discriminated against and abused by the busing company.

The resulting suit, Browder v. Gayle, (1956), resulted in the Supreme Court affirming the US District Court for the Middle District of Alabama's ruling that the bus segregation was unconstitutional.

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