Photo credits: Wikimedia Commons
According to Today in Civil Liberties History, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested for the first time on January 26, 1956, while taking part in the infamous Montgomery Bus Boycott.
The boycott started on December 5, 1955, as a crusade to desegregate the city of Montgomery, Alabama’s bus system. Dr. King was reportedly arrested by a motorcycle cop from the Montgomery Police Department for driving five miles over the speed limit.
One estimate claims King was arrested and incarcerated 29 times during his entire career as a civil rights activist.
The number of arrests for which was not jailed may be more than this estimate. The late John Lewis, another renowned African American civil rights activist, was arrested 40 times during his tenure as a civil rights worker. Lewis was also arrested on five more occassions after he was elected to the United States Congress.
After Rosa Parks was jailed on December 1, 1955, for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white man, the boycott started four days later on December 5, 1955. Dr. King is revered by many historians as the most renowned civil rights leader in the United States who was active throughout the late 1950s and 1960s.
During those two decades, he was placed under arrest a plethora of times by the police departments of numerous U.S. cities in the South.