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Montgomery Bus Boycott
Transcript of Montgomery Bus Boycott
December 1, 1955-December 20, 1956
Montgomery Bus Boycott
Jim Crow Laws
For many years a majority of American states enforced segregation through "Jim Crow" laws. Each state could impose legal punishments on people for being associated with members of another race. These laws were particularly strict in the South.
The most common types of laws outlawed marriage between the races and ordered business owners and public institutions to keep their black and white customers separated.
“It shall be unlawful for a negro and white person to play together or in company with each other in any game of cards or dice, dominoes or checkers.”
—Birmingham, Alabama, 1930
The laws was to create "separate but equal" treatment, but in practice Jim Crow Laws condemned black citizens to inferior treatment and facilities.
Separate but Not Equal
Bus operators were supposed to separate the bus into two sections: whites up front and Blacks in back. Blacks had to stand if there was no sitting room for whites.
In those days a white person never had to stand on a Montgomery bus. But it frequently occurred that blacks boarding the bus were forced to stand in the back if all seats were taken in the black section, even if seats were available in the white section.
The reason for the fight
Many Blacks were frustrated with the ufair treatment on the buses and a few of them fought back--willing to be arrested to stand up for what they believed was right.
A number of men and women practiced their rights by sitting in the white section & refusing to give up thier seats to whites.
Rosa Parks wasn't the first to refuse to give up her seat but her case is widely known.
After the arrest of Rosa Parks the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) put out a leaflet to boycott the buses.
The boycott was regarded as the first large-scale demonstration against segregation in the U.S.
With the help of NAACP & Jo Ann Robinson of the Women's Political Council (WPC), 40,000 people are organized in just two days.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the leaders of the boycott and emerged and became a national leader of the American civil rights movement.
The dedication & the Outcome
The Montgomery Bus Boycott lasted 382 days the equivalent of 13 months.
A Montgomery federal court ruled that any law requiring racially segregated seating on buses violated the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The Montgomery Bus Boycott helped with the start of the Civil Rights Movement, a national struggle for freedom and justice.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere" ~MLK Jr.
****Watch this short video and take notes. Make sure your sound is low. Check with your teacher if you do not know how to turn the sound down.
Pause and Reflect
Are you willing to go to jail for anything?
If yes, then what?
**This reflection is not meant to be written
A Brief Overview of Events
The Womens' Political Council (WPC) was founded in 1946 in hopes to stop segregation on the city busses. While meeting with Mayor Gayle, in March 1954, the members of the council outlined the changes that they hoped for the bus system, which were:
no one standing over empty seats
a decree that black individuals not be made to pay at the front of the bus and enter from the rear
and a policy that would require buses to stop at every corner in black residential areas, as they did in white communities
When no changes were made after the meeting, the community leaders were just waiting for the right person to be arrested in order to initiate the boycott.
Rosa Parks was a member of the WPC
On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks was sitting on a city bus in the fifth row, the first row that blacks were allowed to sit in, when the four front rows were filled and one white man was left standing. The bus driver then asked the four blacks sitting in the fifth row to move, but Rosa refused, which resulted in her being arrested.
On the first day of the boycott, 90% of the blacks stayed off the busses
When the boycott began, the black cab services were charging only 10 cents per ride.
City officials tried interfering with the boycott by announcing that any cab driver charging less than 45 cents would be prosecuted.
In response, Blacks in Montgomery started a "private taxi" system, which blacks who owned cars drove around blacks who needed rides.
Whites tried ending the boycott in every way that they could think of and when everything failed, they turned to violence.
King's home was bombed
King and other activist were also arrested for boycotting