Residents remember the Montgomery Bus Boycott

December 8, 2011 by  

December 5 was the 56th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. This event is often hailed as the start of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. It all began when a very weary Rosa Parks was asked to give up her seat to a white person on a bus; African Americans were expected to sit in the back of the bus. She refused to move when the driver asked her to and was arrested. She was fined but appealed it; the local NAACP called for a boycott of the bus company. Martin Luther King Jr. was chosen by the Montgomery Improvement Association to lead the boycott and, as we know, this helped to make him a nationally known figure.

The Alabama State University (ASU) National Center for the Study of Civil Rights and American Culture sponsored a celebration of the anniversary at the First Baptist Church on December 5. Reverend Calvin Butts of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York City was a guest speaker.

As has been pointed out, ASU professor Jo Ann Gibson Robinson was instrumental in helping to get out work of the planned boycott in 1955. She also wrote a memoir about the boycott. Using university printers, she copied thousands of flyers calling for a boycott of the bus company. This was probably one of the most successful uses of flyer printing in Montgomery. The boycott lasted 381 days and resulted in a Supreme Court decision that the segregation of buses was unconstitutional.