Stacey E. Williams
Ossie L. Neal
April 8, 2013
On 1 December 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger on a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama. This single act of nonviolent resistance sparked the Montgomery bus boycott, an eleven-month struggle to desegregate the city’s buses.
The Montgomery Bus Boycott was actually started before the arrest of Rosa Parks. The Women Political Council (WPC), founded in 1946, was a group of black professionals, were already looking into the Jim Crow practices on the Montgomery city buses. They had a meeting with then Mayor W.A. Gayle in March of 1954; they brought forward changes they wanted to see happen with the bus system. Blacks had to stand even if there were seats available on the bus, they paid their fare at the front of the bus and had to get back off and enter through the rear of the bus, the buses did not stop every corner in black neighborhoods as they did the white neighborhoods. This meeting failed to produce any results. Jo Ann Robinson, president of the WPC in a letter to the Mayor, stated that if there were no changes implemented, there would be a city-wide bus boycott of buses.
Claudette Colvin, 15 years old at the time, was arrested a year later for not giving up her seat, seven months later 18 year old Mary Louise Smith was arrested for the same infraction. Although these two young women was standing up for what was right, it took Rosa Parks to get the Boycott under way. Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man. December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks, a 40-year-old black seamstress was on her way home from work when a white passenger got on the bus and did not have anywhere to sit. Rosa along with three other black Americans was sitting in a seat towards the front of the bus. The bus driver told them to move back so the white passenger could sit down, all but Rosa moved. After telling her again to move and her refusal not to move the police was called and Rosa Parks was arrested for “Refusing to obey orders of bus driver”. This was the beginning of a long year for Montgomery Alabama bus companies.
Rosa Parks Police Report
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) played a huge role in trying to stop segregation, they were looking for someone that would be able to stand up to the court system. Prior to Ms. Parks refusing to give up her seat, they had previously attempted this twice without any results. The Montgomery Bus Boycott took place only a few months after the Emmett Till’s murder, Ms. Parks arrest inspired black leaders to launch a one-day bus boycott, Jo Ann Robinson, Women Political Council, and 40,000 people organized the boycott in just two days. On December 5, 1955, the day of Rosa Parks trial, a meeting was held and it was decided then to protest. The next day they passed out flyers in every black elementary, junior high and high school in Montgomery that they were protesting and not to ride the bus today, do it for freedom. Excited that they emptied the buses that day by not riding, the committee met at the Holt Street Baptist Church and voted to keep the protest going, they elected Martin Luther King, Jr, who had no affiliation with the town leaders or other ministers to lead the Montgomery Improvement Association and the boycott.
Protesters support the boycott
Holt Street Baptist Church (the meeting place for the committee) King agreed and he gave a very inspiring speech, in his speech he said that if they were wrong so was the Constitution of the United States. The boycott took full swing and lasted from December 5, 1955 until December 1956. This hurt the bus company, and they suffered economically. During this time violence broke out, bombs were being thrown at the organizer’s homes, the white Citizens Council and the Klu Klux Klan held rallies in support of