Montgomery Bus Boycott

  • Jo Ann Robinson, of the WPC, writes letter to the Mayor

    Jo Ann Robinson, president of the Women’s Political Council, writes to the mayor of Montgomery to warn of the possibility of a bus boycott.
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  • King becomes Pastor in Montgomery

    Martin Luther King Jr. becomes pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.
  • Colvin, aged 15, is arrested.

    Claudette Colvin, 15, is arrested after allegedly violating bus segregation laws.
  • Smith, aged 18, is arrested.

    Mary Louise Smith, 18, is arrested after allegedly violating bus segregation laws.
  • Rosa Parks is arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.

    Rosa Parks is arrested after allegedly violating bus segregation laws. Parks is charged with disorderly conduct.
  • Leaflets calling for bus boycott are created and distributed

    Jo Ann Gibson Robinson (President of the Women's Political Council), two students, and the chairman of the Business Department at Alabama State, mimeographed and distributed approximately 52,500 leaflets calling for a boycott of the buses to begin on December 5, the following Monday.
  • Black Montgomery activists set stage for boycott

    Black Montgomery activists, including attorney Fred Gray and labor leader E.D. Nixon, begin setting the stage for the boycott.
  • A One-Day Bus Boycott & Rosa Parks is convicted and fined

    Rosa Parks is convicted and fined in Montgomery city court. A one-day boycott of city buses results in about 90 percent participation, The Montgomery Improvement Association is formed by black leaders, who elect the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. president. Several thousand black citizens attend the first MIA mass meeting at Holt Street Baptist Church, where they overwhelmingly support continuing the bus boycott.
  • Negotiations begin

    First negotiations between MIA leaders and Montgomery city and bus company officials deadlock over MIA proposal for a bus seating policy that is more fair to blacks, but still segregated.
  • Car Pool System begins

    The MIA begings to operate a car pool system. In time, the system will grow to more than 200 private automobiles and station wagons, many of which are operated by black churches.
  • Mayor forms biracial committee to negotiate with MIA

    The mayor forms a biracial committee to negotiate a compromise. The vice president of the bus company meets with MIA leaders and city and local bus officials.
  • One and only meeting of the Mayor's biracial committee

    The biracial committee meets but cannot agree on a compromise; there is no other record of the committee meeting after this one time.
  • MIA leaders meet with city commissioners

    MIA leaders meet with city commissioners, to no avail.
  • Mayor announces no further negotiations

    Mayor W. A. Gayle announces a tougher policy on the bus boycott, including no further negotiations with the MIA.
  • King is arrested for speeding

    King is arrested for speeding and jailed by Montgomery police.
  • King decides to continue the fight against segregation

    After getting a series of threatening phone calls, King reports sitting at his kitchen table late into the night considering whether to abandon the leadership of the boycott. But his resolve is strengthened by a divine voice telling him to continue the fight.
  • MIA votes to file federal lawsuit - King's home is bombed

    The MIA votes to support the filing of the federal lawsuit to challenge city and state bus segregation laws. That same night King’s house is bombed with his wife and their infant daughter inside - no one is insured. King reiterates to the angry crowd that nonviolence is the only solution.
  • Browder v. Gayle federal lawsuit is filed - challenges constitutionality of segregation

    Fred D. Gray and Charles D. Langford file the Browder v. Gayle lawsuit on behalf of four female plaintiffs to challenge the constitutionality of city and state bus segregation laws. Rosa Parks is not involved in the case.
  • Grand jury investigation of whether boycott violates state law

    A Montgomery circuit judge orders a grand jury investigation into whether the bus boycott violates a state boycott conspiracy law.
  • Boycott leaders indicted by grand jury with violating state law

    A Montgomery County grand jury indicts about 90 bus boycott leaders, charging them with violating a state statute against boycotts without just cause.
  • King found guilty of violating state boycott law

    King is found guilting of violating the state boycott conspiracy law. HIs sentence, a $500 fine or a year in jail, is delayed pending appeal. A year later that he loses his appeal and pays the fine. Other indicted MIA leaders are never tried.
  • National Deliverance Day of Prayer to support bus boycott

    A National Deliverance Day of Prayer to support the bus boycott takes place. Many cities, in and outside the South, take part.
  • Montgomery bus company orders desegregation

    The U.S. Supreme Court dismisses an appeal of a July 1955 federal appeals court ruling outlawing bus segregation in South Carolina. The decision is seen by many as declaring all intrastate bus segregation unconstitutional. The bus company decides to implement a policy of desegregation.
  • Mayor orders that Montgomery segregation will continue

    Bus companies in many Southern cities stop segregated bus seating in response to the Supreme Court decision. However, the Montgomery mayor declares that city bus segregation will continue and the local police threaten to arrest bus drivers who disobey segregation laws.
  • Federal court hearing on Browder v. Gayle lawsuit

    Montgomery federal court holds a hearing on the Browder v. Gayle lawsuit challenging bus segregation law. Claudette Colvin, Mary Louise Smith and the two other plaintiffs testify.
  • Two of three judges rule bus segregation laws unconstitutional

    Federal judges rule the city and state bus segregation laws are unconstitutional.
  • Injunction against segregation on buses - enforcement suspended pending appeal to U.S. Supreme Court

    Federal judges issue an injunction against segregation on Montgomery buses, but suspend its enforcement pending an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • U.S. Supreme Court upholds Browder v. Gayle decision

    Without dissent, the U.S. Supreme Court upholds the Montgomery federal court’s Browder v. Gayle decision striking down Alabama’s bus segregation laws as unconstitutional.
  • MIA votes unanimously to end boycott upon U.S. Supreme Court decision implemention

    MIA, and those citizens at the meeting, unanimously votes to end the bus boycott when the U.S. Supreme Court decision is implemented.
  • U.S. Supreme Court rejects City Commission's appeal

    U.S. Supreme Court rejects the Montgomery City Commission’s appeal of the Browder v. Gayle decision.
  • U.S. Supreme Court ruling goes into effect

    U.S. Supreme Court’s Browder ruling goes into effect. Those attending mass meetings of the MIA uphold vote to end the bus boycott.
  • After 381 days, the boycott ends - full segregated bus service begins

    Black citizens desegregate Montgomery buses after the 13-month boycott. The bus company resumes full service.