The Montgomery Bus Boycott: A History and Reference Guide

The Montgomery Bus Boycott: A History and Reference Guide

The Montgomery Bus Boycott: A History and Reference Guide

The Montgomery Bus Boycott: A History and Reference Guide


The 1955-1956 bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, catapulted Martin Luther King, Jr., into the national spotlight and made Rosa Parks a household name. Far from the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement, it was the culmination of years of struggle, and a triumph of one Southern black community's determined non-violent protest against discrimination.


Fifty years after the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the victory seems far removed from the struggles and triumph recorded in the following pages. A bus boycott may not seem quite as amazing as it did when it took place, but after studying all the records and transcripts over the last two years, I am of the belief that its success and the immediate results were nothing short of miraculous.

I was raised in North Carolina, on the edge of this civil rights milestone, blind to the fact that it had happened at my own back door. In the 1960s I had Blacks in my school, and we would pick up a Black boy that lived with his grandmother to take him to church on Sundays. We would eat lunch and play together during those afternoons. Yet there were still Black cooks, maids, chauffeurs, and women who took in laundry to serve old-schooled White southerners.

The integrations that appeared to be an impossibility in 1955 are now a reality. Not only are Blacks integrated into every aspect of American society, they have moved from virtual disenfranchisement in 1955 to having an African American Democratic president for the first time in history. The unity, dedication, and faithfulness of an entire community of Black people, who walked to work for over a year, exposed to weather conditions, controversy, and violence, fueled the changes that we take for granted today. The success of the Montgomery Bus Boycott was truly amazing.

A generation of Blacks who had seen slavery and were allowed to fight in World War II to free others were not free in the society for which they fought. They were not allowed to return from the war to America as full . . .

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