60th Anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott

Rediscovering Black History

Today’s post was written by Dr. Tina L. Ligon, Lead Archivist at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland

On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama city bus to a white man. She was arrested and charged with violating the city’s segregation laws. Her act of civil disobedience led to a 381-day boycott of the city buses by African American residents in Montgomery. The resistance that Parks displayed was rooted in years of frustration from mistreatment and the racial segregation policies enforced by the Montgomery city buses and local law officials.

Fingerprint Card of Rosa Parks (641627) Fingerprint Card of Rosa Parks (NAID 641627)

Police Report on Arrest of Rosa Parks (NAID 596074) Police Report on Arrest of Rosa Parks (NAID 596074)

Members of the black community had wanted to challenge the bus segregation policies for several months. The Women’s Political Council (WPC), led by activist and educator Jo Ann Robinson, called for a…

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