Montgomery Bus Boycott Essay

Submitted By marierachel
Words: 631
Pages: 3

The Montgomery Bus Boycott officially started on December 1, 1955, sparked by the arrest of Rosa Parks. That was the day when the African Americans of Montgomery, Alabama decided that they would boycott the city buses until they could sit anywhere they wanted, instead of being relegated to the back when a white boarded. It was not, however, the day that the movement to desegregate the buses started. The roots of the bus boycott began years before the arrest of Rosa Parks. The movement did not start with Rosa Parks’ arrest. Many people before her had been arrested. Talks of a boycott had been taking place for years. The Women’s’ Political Council, a group of black professionals founded in 1946, had already turned their attention to Jim Crow practices on the Montgomery city buses. In a meeting with Montgomery’s mayor in March 1954, the council outlined the changes they sought for Montgomery’s bus system. A year after the WPC’s meeting with the mayor, a 15-year-old named Claudette Colvin was arrested for challenging segregation on a Montgomery bus. Seven months later, 18-year-old Mary Louise Smith was arrested for refusing to yield her seat to a white passenger. The NAACP and the WPC were waiting for the right person to be arrested, someone who would anger the black community into action, agree to test the segregation laws in court, and was “above reproach”. The arrest of Rosa Parks fueled the bus boycott into action. She was a long-time NAACP worker who had taken a special interest in Claudette Colvin’s case. When she was arrested in December 1955, she had recently completed a workshop on race relations at the Highlander Folk High School in Monteagle, Tennessee. Martin Luther King, Jr. recalled in his memoir that “Mrs. Parks was ideal for the role assigned to her by history,” and because “her character was impeccable and her dedication deep-rooted” she was “one of the most respected people in the Negro community.” WPC president, Jo Ann Robinson, responded to her arrest by calling for a one-day protest of city buses on December 5, 1955. On December 2, Robinson and her students distributed anonymous fliers about the boycott. That evening, a group of ministers and civil rights leaders met to discuss the boycott, and they decided to publicize the December 5 boycott. On December 5, ninety percent of Montgomery’s African American citizens stayed off the buses. That afternoon, the city’s ministers and