Magazine article History Today

Alabama Bus Segregation Ended: November 13th, 1956

Magazine article History Today

Alabama Bus Segregation Ended: November 13th, 1956

Article excerpt

IN 1955 THE RULE ON THE BUSES in the city of Montgomery, Alabama, was that 'coloured' passengers must sit at the back and leave the front seats to white passengers. In December a black woman in her forties named Rosa Parkes, long active in the civil rights movement, declined to give a white man her seat on the Cleveland Avenue bus. Her action, apparently, was spontaneous: she said her feet were tired. The bus stopped and she was arrested and fined $14.

Montgomery's black leaders called for a boycott of the city's buses and the recently appointed pastor of the Baptist church in Dexter Avenue, Rev Martin Luther King Jr, was picked to head a committee to run the boycott and secure publicity. Then virtually unknown, he was superbly suited to the task and the outcome would be **at notable victory in the civil rights battle and a worldwide reputation for Martin Luther King.

The battle was waged principally over education and had started earlier with legal challenges to the system in several states. The old principle of 'separate but equal' facilities for whites and blacks, endorsed by the Supreme Court in 1896, had been rejected by the court in 1954 in relation to the public school system in Kansas. …

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