The Montgomery Bus Boycott
Montgomery, Alabama, known as the Cradle of the Confederacy in the span of 381 days became the Cradle of the New Negro. From the time that Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, to the speech Martin Luther King, Jr delivered which officially ended the boycott, the foundation was being laid for tremendous changes that would take place in the coming decade. The repercussions of the Montgomery Bus Boycott were far-reaching, tide-changing, and the beginning of a new era in black and white relations in America. Though Montgomery was certainly not the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement, it was a key component of the mass movement which began in earnest ...view middle of the document...
 The foundation was laid for the civil case which would be brought against the segregation law of Montgomery and Alabama before a federal district court by Parks and three other women who had been arrested for the same reason.
On February 21, 1956 city officials in Montgomery obtained indictments and arrest warrants for 156 leaders of the boycott, including King. These leaders were arrested on charges of violating a 1921 law which forbid hindrance to a business without â€œjust cause or legal excuse.â€ In compliance with their nonviolence policy and as an example to the blacks involved in the boycott, those who were indicted drove to the police station together and surrendered. King was jailed for two weeks and the plans of the city officials to end the boycott failed. The arrest of King brought national attention to the protest. Upon his release, King was quoted as saying, â€œI was proud of my crime. It was the crime of joining my people in a nonviolent protest against injustice.â€
On June 4 a three-judge federal district court heard the case Browder v. Gayle and after deliberations returned a decision. The court held that, â€œthe statutes requiring segregation of the white and colored races on a common carrier violate the due process and equal protection of the law clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.â€ However, the court stayed its decision until the appeal could be heard by the United States Supreme Court. In June, Time published an article about the ongoing boycott in which it reviewed the decision of the court and declared â€œthere is now no rational basis upon which the separate but equal doctrine can be validly applied to public transportation.â€ Five months later, on November 13 the United States Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the lower court.
On this same night the Ku Klux Klan staged a parade through the black neighborhood of Montgomery. Nearly forty carloads of Klan members lined up to put an end to what they viewed as the nonsense which was taking place in Montgomery. In a show of defiance, the blacks watched the parade from the safety of their front doors. In shame, Klan members cut their route short and the parade ended before it had truly begun. The black communityâ€™s willingness to not cower in fear at the presence of the Klan revealed how strongly they had united under their common banner of equality. By December 20 the black community was more united than it had perhaps been in American history. When blacks boarded the buses for the first time in 381 days on December 21, 1956, they had created a movement which would sweep the nation and result in a new era.
The organizers and leaders of the boycott were essential to its success and without their foresight it certainly would not have impacted America in the manner in which it did. ED Nixon, President of the local NAACP chapter, had been planning a boycott for some time. When Rosa Parks was arrested, Nixon...