This Day in Black History: Dec. 5, 1955

The Montgomery Bus Boycott was one of the influential developments of the civil rights movement. It was a social protest that led to the end of segregation in public transportation while propelling into renown such figures as Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr.

The protest began on Dec. 5, 1955, four days after Rosa Parks, an African-American woman, refused to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery bus.  She was arrested and fined.

The boycott of public buses by Black citizens began after Parks’ court hearing. The boycott, which was led by Martin Luther King Jr., lasted 381 days, until to Dec. 20, 1956. It was considered the first large-scale demonstration for civil rights in the United States. In addition to using private cars, some people used non-motorized means to get around, such as cycling, walking or even riding mules or driving horse-drawn buggies. Some people also hitchhiked.

Across the nation, Black churches raised money to support the boycott and collected new and slightly used shoes to replace the tattered footwear of Montgomery’s Black citizens, many of whom walked everywhere rather than ride the buses and submit to segregation laws.

Ultimately, the United States Supreme Court ordered the city of Montgomery to integrate the transit system and King emerged as an internationally celebrated leader of the civil rights.

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