The struggle for equality in public transport


The Montgomery bus boycott,1955-56

  • In Montgomery there was a local law that African Americans had to sit at the back of the bus and give up their seats if white people wanted them. 
  • 1 December 1955 Rosa Parks, an NAACP activist, refused to give up her seat and was arrested and convicted of breaking the bus laws.
  • Local civil rights activists set up the MIA, led by Dr MLK,a young baptist minister. The group organised a boycott where they stopped using the buses, arranging private transport instead. 
  • Civil rights lawyers fought the case in court and in December 1956 the Supreme Court declared Montgomery's bus laws illegal and the bus company gave in.
  • This was the beginning of non-violent mass protests by the civil rights movement.
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  • Sit-in: a form of protest in which demonstrators sit in a public place and refuse to move.
  • Winter of 1959-60 civil rights groups stepped up their non-violent campaigns.
  • They organised marches,demonstrations and boycotts to end segregation in public places.
  • February 1960 in Greensboro, North Carolina, the sit-in protests began at the lunch counter in the F. W. Woolwarth store.
  • By August 1961 The sit-ins in restaurants,libraries and movie theatres had attracted over 70,000 participants and resulted in over 3000 arrests
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Freedom Rides, 1961

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