The Montgomery bus boycott changed the way people lived and reacted to each
The American civil rights movement began a long time ago, as early as the
seventeenth century, with blacks and whites all protesting slavery together.
peak of the civil rights movement came in the 1950's starting with the successful
bus boycott in Montgomery Alabama.
The civil rights movement was lead by Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr., who preached nonviolence and love for your enemy.
"Love your enemies, we do not mean to love them as a friend
what the Greeks called agape-a disinterested love for all mankind.
This love is
our regulating ideal and beloved community our ultimate goal.
As we struggle here
in Montgomery, we are cognizant that we have cosmic companionship and that the
universe bends toward justice.
We are moving from the black night of segregation
to the bright daybreak of joy, from the midnight of Egyptian captivity to the
glittering light of Canaan freedom
explained Dr. King.
In the Cradle of the Confederacy, life for the white and the colored citizens
was completely segregated.
Segregated schools, restaurants, public water
fountains, amusement parks, and city buses were part of everyday life in
"Every person operating a bus line should provide equal accommodations.
such a manner as to separate the white people from Negroes."
buses, black passengers were required by city law to sit in the back of the
Negroes were required to pay their fare at the front of the bus,
then get off and reboard from the rear of the bus.
The front row seats were
reserved for white people, which left the back of the bus or no man's land for the
There was no sign declaring the seating arrangements of the buses, but
everyone knew them.
The Montgomery bus boycott started one of the greatest fights for civil
rights in the history of America.
Here in the old capital of the Confederacy,
"inspired by one women's courage; mobilized and organized by scores of grass-roots
leaders in churches, community organizations, and political clubs; called to new
visions of their best possibilities by a young black preacher named Martin Luther
King, Jr., a people was reawakening to its destiny. "
In 1953, the black community of Baton Rouge, Louisiana successfully
petitioned their city council to end segregated seating on public buses.
ordinance allowed the city buses to be seated on a first-come, first-served basis,
with the blacks still beginning their seating at the rear of the bus.
drivers, who were all white, ignored the new ordinance and continued to save seats
in front of the bus for white passengers.
In an effort to demand that the city
follow the new ordinance, the black community staged a one-day boycott of Baton
By the end of the day, Louisiana's attorney general decided that
the new ordinance was illegal and ruled that the bus drivers did not have to change
the seating arrangements on the buses.
Three months later a second bus boycott was started by Reverend T.J. Jemison.