The Montgomery Bus Boycott

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  • The Montgomery Bus Boycott
    • 1955- Rosa Parks, a black woman, travelling on a bus in Montgomery Alabama, refused to give up her seat for a white man
      • she was arrested and convicted of breaking the law
    • Montgomery has a local law that black people could only sit in the middle and back of a bus and had to give up those seats if white people wanted them
    • Martin Luther King organised the boycott of the bus company
      • a car pool was set up- carried 2/3 of the passengers the bus would have carried. The rest walked
    • First day of the boycott- buses were empty, 10,000-15,000 people turned up to hear a speech from MLK
      • however, throughout the boycott, the MIA's leaders were bullied and intimidated by police and local authorities. MLK was arrested twice, the car pool was made illegal, the churches and homes of the supporters were set on fire etc.
    • It was a great success- the bus company lost 65% of its income and therefore gave in
    • First major action of the power of non-violent direct action- challenged discrimination by refusing to co-operate with it
    • the media covered it all over the world- under international spotlight
    • 1956- Supreme Court declared Montgomery's bus laws to be illegal and all across the USA.
    • A Montgomery Improvement Association was set up and Martin Luther King was elected as their leader. They decided the best way to protest was through a bus boycott


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