Thursday, February 9, 2012
Black History Month: THE MONTGOMERY BUS BOYCOTT
On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks, a leading member of the local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), was ordered by a bus driver to give up her seat to a white passenger. When she refused, she was arrested and taken to jail. Local leaders of the NAACP, especially Edgar D. Nixon, recognized that the arrest of the popular and highly respected Parks was the event that could rally local blacks to a bus protest.
The Montgomery bus boycott lasted for more than a year, demonstrating a new spirit of protest among Southern blacks. King's serious demeanor and consistent appeal to Christian brotherhood and American idealism made a positive impression on whites outside the South. Incidents of violence against black protesters, including the bombing of King's home, focused media attention on Montgomery. In February 1956 an attorney for the MIA filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking an injunction against Montgomery's segregated seating practices. The federal court ruled in favor of the MIA, ordering the city's buses to be desegregated, but the city government appealed the ruling to the United States Supreme Court. By the time the Supreme Court upheld the lower court decision in November 1956, King was a national figure.