The Montgomery Bus Boycott was a first major crack in the dam of segregation in the South. Because of Jim Crow laws, black bus passengers routinely had relinquished their seats near the front of the bus for whites. On December 1st, 1955, seamstress Rosa Parks was on her way home when she was ordered by the driver to give up her seat for a white passenger. She refused and was promptly arrested. Local NAACP president E.D. Nixon and other community leaders founded the Montgomery Improvement Association to organize a boycott of the city bus system. Women like Jo Ann Robinson, Johnnie Carr, and Irene West worked to organize a carpool in support of the boycotters. Newly arrived pastor Martin Luther King, Jr., was selected as the MIA president but women formed the backbone of the boycott. Boycott leaders and carpool drivers were arrested for operating a supposedly illegal taxi service. Both King and Nixon had their homes firebombed. But on November 13th, 1956, the US Supreme Court finally ruled that segregation on public transportation was illegal. The boycott ended on December 20th with blacks and whites riding together on the bus in any seat they chose.

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Encyclopedia of Alabama