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The Black Wall Street Times

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On December 5, 2022, The Black Wall Street Times honors and recognizes a civil rights boycott that started in 1955. On this day 67 years ago, the Montgomery Bus Boycott started in Alabama.

The Montgomery Bus Boycott was one of the first widespread protests involving Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The 13-month boycott followed the arrest of Rosa Parks just four days earlier. 

On December 1, 1955, Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white man. Her arrest led to the civil rights protest that spanned over a year.

Prior to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, a civil ordinance required Black bus riders to give up their seats if the front half of the bus – reserved for White people only – was full. At the time, Black residents made up 75% of all bus riders, and on just the first day of the protest, over 40,000 Black men and women refused to ride the city’s public buses.

The Black community rallied to maintain the boycott for over a year. Many Black residents started carpools, and taxi drivers charged Black riders only 10 cents a ride. 

Initially the demands included a first-come first-seat policy and the hiring of Black bus drivers. Many local Black pastors promoted the boycott, while one major newspaper also carried news of the protest.   

Rosa Parks did more than sit down

Following the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that bus segregation was illegal. SCOTUS ordered the city of Montgomery to integrate its public transportation services. 

For her part, Rosa Parks noted that her act of defiance was not her first moment of civil rights activism. Prior to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, she was secretary of the NAACP.

Rosa Parks wrote an autobiography, noting she wasn’t physically tired but, “I was tired of giving in.” She received a Congressional Medal of Honor in 1999. 

Montgomery Civil Rights Center is offering free admission from December 5-7. 

Erika Stone is a graduate student in the Master of Social Work program at the University of Oklahoma, and a graduate assistant at Schusterman Library. A Chess Memorial Scholar, she has a B.A. in Psychology...

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