The Montgomery Bus Boycott of Montgomery, Alabama is known as the crucial catalyst that jump-started the Civil Rights Movement. When Rosa Parks, a well respected secretary of the local NAACP chapter, refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white man as she returned home from work, Parks was arrested. Her refusal and subsequent arrest was used as the NAACP’s chance to fight the segregated policy of the city buses. Two other women, Mary Louise Smith and Claudette Colvin, both refused to give up their bus seats to white patrons before Parks, but their cases were passed over by the NAACP in favor of Parks, whose image of a middle class, religious, well-respected, light-skinned woman was preferred. After Parks’s arrest, the NAACP President E.D. Nixon, began plans to boycott the city buses along with Jo Ann Robinson of the Women’s Political Council. To them, Parks was the perfect test case to rally around in order to challenge the city’s segregation.
The boycott was planned for Monday, December 5th. Robinson of the Women’s Political Council created and distributed flyers to black families all over and around the city of Montgomery, sharing the story of Parks arrest and calling for a boycott. Black men and women made up 75% of bus riders, and a widespread boycott would force the city to pay attention to their demands. A meeting was arranged by Robinson at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church for the boycott, held by Rev. Ralph Abernathy and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.. Dr. King was appointed the president of the newfound Montgomery Improvement Association. At the meeting, it was decided that the boycott would not cease until buses were no longer segregated. Over a year after the boycott had begun on November 13, 1956, in the court case Browder v. Gayle, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of desegregating the buses. Finally, the bus boycott was over. The day Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus catalyzed one of the most memorable boycotts in the history of civil rights.