In 1955, the world was a different place for African Americans. The Jim Crow laws were preventing black people from getting a head as their white counterparts. Black people were required by Montgomery, Alabama ordinance to sit in the back of city buses and to yield their seats to white riders. However, two women and the Montgomery bus boycott brought about great changes for African Americans. Here are 9 important facts that should never be forgotten about the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
1. Nine months before Rosa Parks’ arrest for refusing to give up her bus seat, 15-year-old Claudette Colvin was arrested in Montgomery for the same act.
2. The city’s black leaders prepared to protest, until it was discovered Colvin was pregnant and deemed an inappropriate symbol for their cause.
3. On 1st December, 1955, Rosa Parks, a middle-aged tailor’s assistant from Montgomery, Alabama, who was tired after a hard day’s work, refused to give up her seat to a white man.
4. After her arrest, Martin Luther King, a pastor at the local Baptist Church, helped organize protests against bus segregation. He was joined by other campaigners for civil rights, including Ralph David Abernathy and Edgar Nixon.
5. For thirteen months the 17,000 black people in Montgomery walked to work or obtained lifts from the small car-owning black population of the city.
6. Frequently Negroes paid their fare at the front door, and then were forced to get off and board at the rear. An even more humiliating practice was the custom of forcing Negroes to stand over empty seats reserved for “whites only”.
7. The demands did not include changing the segregation laws; rather, the group demanded courtesy, the hiring of black drivers, and a first-come, first-seated policy, with whites entering and filling seats from the front and African Americans from the rear.
8. On June 5, 1956, a Montgomery federal court ruled that any law requiring racially segregated seating on buses violated the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
9. Montgomery’s buses were integrated on December 21, 1956, and the boycott ended. It had lasted 381 days.