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Alabama

Page history last edited by Alabama 12 years ago

     Background

 

     Alabama in 1955-1956 was a very significant time in American history.  This was the time of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.[1]  The event most remembered by the public occurred on Thursday, December 1st, 1955.  Rosa Parks, a citizen of Montgomery, sat down in the fifth row of a public city bus, the first row African-Americans were allowed to occupy.  Then, as the first 4 rows filled and another white person got on the bus, The 3 African-Americans in the fifth row were asked to move. Two of them complied, but Rosa Parks refused to move.  She was tried and sent to prison.[2]  This enraged the public of African-Americans .  The night of Rosa's arrest, Jo Ann Robinson started to plan a one-day bus boycott.  She urged African-Americans to stay off the city buses the next Monday, December 5th, 1955. Martin Luther King, Jr. was also involved in this boycott, and thought that about 60 percent participation would be a success.  That's why he was so surprised when he saw a completely empty bus roll past his house that morning.  Whites soon realized what was happening and tried to take action in order to stop.  The first thing they did was to raise all cab prices in Montgomery from the usual 10 cent fare, the same as the bus fare, to 45 cents.  This price couldn't be easily afforded for most African-Americans, but this did not stop them.  The next thing that the whites did was turn to violence.  They bombed first Martin Luther King's house on January 30th, 1956, and then Richard Nixon's house on February 1st.  This still didn't stop the boycott.  Finally, whites turned to law.  On February 21st, 89 African-Americans were indicted under an old law that prohibited boycotts. The first person to be tried was Martin Luther King, Jr., who was forced to pay overall $1000 or go to the state penitentiary for a total of 386 days.[3]

 

     Significance

 

     This was an extremely significant event in the United States culture of the mid-1900's.  As the Civil Rights movement progressed, events between the whites and the African-Americans became more intense.  When this boycott happened, the actual rights movement was moved very far forward. This happened in several other movements similar to this one, but the Montgomery Bus Boycott was one of the most impacting.  One of the things that made the boycott so impacting was the length. The boycott lasted for one whole year, and during this whole time there was action and activity to push the Civil Rights Movement along.[4]  Many people became famous or even more famous than they already were in this time.  For instance, Martin Luther King, Jr. got even more of a reputation for his contributions to the Montgomery Bus Boycott.  Terrible things could have happened if his reputation wasn't built as much as it was in this time.  Maybe, if Martin Luther King, Jr. hadn't been involved in the boycott, many people wouldn't have listened to him as he made speeches and made other contributions to the Civil Rights Movement.  Segregation could have been still going on today if he hadn't contributed and the boycott hadn't happened.  Also, Rosa Parks got a reputation in the boycott.  Without her, the boycott would never have happened.  This was an extremely significant event in American history and without it, the segregation that was stopped might still be happening to this day.

Footnotes

  1. http://www.worldbookonline.com/student/article?id=ar753878&st=alabama+1956
  2. http://www.worldbookonline.com/student/article?id=ar010280&st=alabama
  3. http://www.watson.org/~lisa/blackhistory/civilrights-55-65/montbus.html
  4. http://www.africanaonline.com/2010/08/the-montgomery-bus-boycott/

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