Montgomery Bus Boycott
Local authorities in Montgomery, Alabama, arrested Rosa Parks, a black seamstress, when she refused to vacate her seat in the white section of a city bus on December 1, 1955. To protest Parks' arrest and the continued segregation of Montgomery's bus lines, members of the city's black community formed the Montgomery Improvement Association on December 4, 1955, and launched a community wide boycott to compel the system's integration. Under the leadership of Martin Luther King, Jr., black commuters and a small number of white sympathizers suffered official harassment, numerous threats, and personal inconvenience for more than a year while the matter made its way through the federal courts. On November 13, 1956, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lower court's decision, and ruled the segregated system unconstitutional. To celebrate the boycott's victory, King and three ministerial colleagues boarded a city bus on December 21, 1956 only one day after Montgomery officials received the court order to desegregate the city's buses, and took their seats throughout the vehicle.