A white man enters the bus and looks for a seat, but the white section of 10 seats is packed. He then walks further back in the bus and stops by the colored section, waits for the first row of African-American passengers to stand up; that is how the system works. Three of them give up their seats when the bus driver demands them to, but the last passenger just moves to the window seat and stays put. “I don’t think I should have to stand up,” she says, and later that day, she is in jail and receives a fine. This day, December 1, 1955, was going to be the first day of a long fight for African-American civil rights which would last for several years.
Similar events had occurred prior to this bus incident of Rosa Parks, but how come we do not know the names or dates of these? We could say that it was a coincidence that only few days later an organization called Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) was formed and was led by a man who would have a great impact on the fight against racial segregation – Martin Luther King Jr. He had earlier become a pastor in a Baptist church and earned a college degree from a Negro institution in Atlanta. While he was a student, he was introduced to Henry Thoreau’s Essay “Civil Disobedience” and the idea of nonviolence – the Gandhian method. Therefore, when he became the leader of MIA, there was no question how they were going to fight the authority. MIA arranged a meeting, led by Jo Ann Robinson and E. D. Nixon, at King Jr.’s church where they launched plans for a boycott of Montgomery buses which would start on December 5 1955, and they were willing to keep on with this protest until their demands were met. Soon, 90% of the African-American community joined the boycott. Instead of taking the bus, they organized carpools and even stood by the high roads with their thumbs out. Since 75% of the bus riders in Montgomery were black, the boycott caused the bus company a lot of economic problems and a social threat to white rule in...
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