REASONS FOR THE SUCCESS OF THE MONTGOMERY BUS BOYCOTT
REASONS FOR THE SUCCESS OF THE MONTGOMERY BUS BOYCOTT
Reasons for the Success of the Montgomery Bus Boycott
The Montgomery Bus Boycott was one of key events that championed the fight for the rights and privileges of African Americans living in the United States. Prior to the event, most African Americans were subjected to segregation and discrimination due to the provisions of the Jim Crow Laws. The Jim Crow Laws segregated African Americans from the utilization of amenities such as public transport, places such as restaurants, ablutions, playgrounds, parks, and other public amenities. On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested after sitting on the section of a bus designated to white people and refusing to move from it. The respective incident would eventually set off a thirteenth month protest that persuaded the Supreme Court of the United States to declare the unconstitutionality of racial segregation in public means of transport. Apart from Rosa Parks, certain reasons such as the carpooling system, and cooperative organization among civil rights leaders were also responsible for the success of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
The primary reason for the success of the Montgomery Bus Boycott comprised the arrest of Rosa Parks. In 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested for sitting in the white part of a public bus. Based on the provisions of the Jim Crow Laws, African Americans were segregated from the utilization of public amenities specifically designated for white people. As an outcome, Parks’ actions were a violation of the respective statute hence forcing her arrest. Parks’ participation in civil disobedience was an influential reason that ultimately inspired the rise of the Civil Rights Movement. Due to her actions and her subsequent arrest, Parks encouraged the start of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which was utilized as a platform by civil rights activists to protest against the segregation laws that were still in effect per the provisions of the Jim Crow statutes. The acts committed against Rosa Parks were sufficient to lead a mass movement, which actually succeeded in the desegregation of public buses. Apart from this, Parks’ arrest was the main reason responsible for specialized efforts implemented in respect to the boycott of public transportation by African American civil rights leaders in Montgomery.
The implementation of car pools was another key reason responsible for the success of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The incident concerning the imprisonment of Rosa Parks had polarized the country once again despite some of the developments that had taken place in America as far as racial segregation was concerned. During the previous year, the Supreme Court nullified segregation in all public schools as evidenced in the Brown v. Board of Education case. Nonetheless, news of Parks’ arrest sparked a mass movement aimed at raising concerns over the continued discrimination of African Americans. In respect to the event, it was evident that 42000 African Americans had not engaged in the use of buses since Parks’ incarceration. In addition to this, police officers harassed, intimidated, and imprisoned African American taxi drivers that assisted them. Because of this, it was imperative to establish an alternative that would continue the boycott and enable the transportation of African Americans. Even though there were other alternatives that would still aid in the respective process, such as servant transportation by white wives, hitchhiking, and walking, carpooling was viewed as the better alternative (Rustin 164). Under the helm of Rufus Lewis, a carpooling framework was organized that provided transportation to all the boycotters.
Cooperative involvement, especially in the organization of the Montgomery Bus Boycott by civil rights leaders was also a major factor that contributed to the protest’s success. As asserted, the arrest of Rosa Parks sparked an outrage especially among African Americans living in Montgomery. Seeing this as an opportunity, civil rights leaders worked together in an effort to organize one of the largest mass protest movements in the United States. For instance, activists such as Jo Ann Robinson, in conjunction with the Women’s Political Council (WPC), organized the start of the protests during early hours of the morning. Aside from this, Robinson and the women engaged in the distribution of the leaflet that detailed the boycott campaign by establishing distribution routes and disseminating tens of thousands of the respective manuscript across Montgomery. Additionally, meetings organized by civil rights leaders, such as Martin Luther King, were also instrumental in establishing a unified mass protest movement as evidenced by the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The MIA meeting inspired the continuation of the boycott, which was seen by King as an opportunity to rectify the American Constitution, which had ultimately enabled the gross suppression of human rights, particularly for African Americans. Furthermore, the meeting informed the people on the right to protest or the freedom of speech, which is evident in a democracy.
In the end, the Montgomery Bus Boycott was a significant event due to the role that it assumed in advancing the rights of African Americans living in Montgomery and across the United States. Despite the judicial precedent set by the United States Supreme Court as per the decision in Brown v. Board of Education, African Americans still underwent racial segregation as an outcome of the “separate but equal” aspect derived from Plessy v. Ferguson and advanced by the provisions of the Jim Crow laws. As such, the arrest of Rosa Parks, which was viewed as a violation of the law as well as the Montgomery City Code, was seen as another attempt aimed at racial discrimination. In this respect, Parks’ arrest sparked a mass protest movement that was highly successful due to the organization of an effective carpooling system and the cooperation of civil rights leaders in organizing, advancing the boycott, and unifying all African Americans.
Abernathy, Ralph. “Recollection of the First MIA Mass Meeting.” In Daybreak of Freedom: The Montgomery Bus Boycott. Edited by Stewart Burns. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 1997. pp. 93-95.
Day, F. B., “Arrest Report for Rosa Parks, 12/1/55,” in The Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project [551201-000]. http://kingpapers.stanford.edu:5801/transcription/document_images/InVol6/551201-000.pdf.
Jo Ann Robinson. The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Women Who Started It. Knoxville, TN: The University of Tennessee Press, 1987. pp. 45-47.
“Martin Luther King speech at the March 22 MIA meeting, as reported by Anna Holden.” In Daybreak of Freedom: The Montgomery Bus Boycott. Edited by Stewart Burns. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 1997. pp. 212-219.
Rustin, Bayard. “Montgomery Diary.” In Daybreak of Freedom: The Montgomery Bus Boycott. Edited by Stewart Burns. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 1997. pp. 164-170.
 Ralph Abernathy. “Recollection of the First MIA Mass Meeting,” in Daybreak of Freedom: The Montgomery Bus Boycott, ed. Stewart Burns (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1997), 94.
 “Martin Luther King speech at the March 22 MIA meeting, as reported by Anna Holden,” in Daybreak of Freedom: The Montgomery Bus Boycott, ed. Stewart Burns (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1997), 214.
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