Daybreak of Freedom is the first comprehensive history of the Montgomery bus boycott. It originated in my work as an editor of the Martin Luther King Jr. Papers at Stanford University. I spent five years producing the third volume of the King Papers, Birth of a New Age ( University of California Press), which examines King's life and leadership during the bus boycott period, 1955-56. While acquiring documents for and editing the King volume, I found that "King-related" documents told only part of the epic story of the Montgomery movement, presenting a particular and incomplete perspective on events. Many of the richest, most revealing, and most significant documents from or about the bus boycott could not be published in the King volume according to our selection criteria. A more complex and multidimensional tale insisted on being told. As editor I tried to extend the definition of "King papers," but considerations of length and of precedents for subsequent volumes compelled me to scale down my broader vision of the King volume. When my efforts to include non-King documents were challenged by more pragmatic colleagues at the King Papers Project, senior editor Clayborne Carson encouraged me to produce a separate volume on the Montgomery bus boycott.
A number of people have assisted me during the two years that I have devoted to Daybreak of Freedom. Several remarkable Stanford undergraduates conducted research and transcribed documents: Julie Leadbetter, Anita McLane, Jane Wu, Wendy Lovejoy, Kris Baber, Karlyn Adams, and Michael Sessoms. Artist Jennifer Butler, also a Stanford student, created the map of Montgomery. My colleague James Tracy commented perceptively on numerous drafts, drawing on his expertise in civil rights and radical pacifism. I owe a special debt of gratitude to three pathbreaking historians of the bus boycott, J. Mills Thornton III, David J. Garrow, and Steven M. Millner, who