Montgomery Bus Boycott
Throughout history, minority communities and societies, which are considered to be alien or foreign in their present places of residence, have always suffered injustices. This has been facilitated by a feeling of superiority within society perpetrating such injustices. This is the same thing that most African Americans experienced in the U.S. during the better part of the twentieth century. They were compelled to endure a series of humiliation and segregation of all types in the hands of whites. These forms of injustices are normally promoted by such aspects as racism, ethnicity, and divergent ideology which have always separated and divided human beings. The Montgomery Bus Boycott succeeded due to many factors and this paper makes an analysis of these factors. The paper also reveals the major figures or individuals who were behind this boycott and what was their distinctive feature. Moreover, the paper explores how these individuals were distinct in their action capacity and how this made the boycott such an outstanding event in history. In this light, African Americans’ understanding of their role in the prosperity of the bus company in their region was a key factor in the success of the boycott. In short, the essay discusses the success of the boycott of Montgomery’s buses, circumstances surrounding it, and its organizers.
The Montgomery Bus Boycott that started in 1955 was an outstanding event during the Civil Rights Movement; this is justified because the action of certain individuals of the time, especially Rosa Parks, was a pivotal point in the constant struggle for justice and equality of treatment of human beings. The move was very important because the bus company greatly depended on the African Americans’ contribution to its financial stability owing to the bus fares that they were paying. Therefore, it was unfair to treat blacks as second class citizens and segregate them in the bus seating arrangement because the bus fares that they were subject to were the same as those of whites. In addition, many blacks were using these buses; therefore, their boycott was a well-calculated undertaking to achieve justice.
As a result of injustices against human beings due to their origin, rebellions and demonstrations begin. They mostly go down in history and are recorded as remarkable events that facilitate the acquisition of justice by an individual in his/her society. This is the same case with the Montgomery Bus Boycott. After several year of mistreatment, African Americans, who were forced to accept laws which were degrading, had nothing to do but to retaliate against these rules; it was the same thing that Parks did on the bus.
African Americans understood their role in the success of the bus company in their region, and this made them take measures that were extreme to that company. Therefore, it meant that if the company had continued the segregation practices, it would have lost the better part of its clients.
The ability to put forward substantive arguments in favor of the boycott is also another major factor that motivated the success of the boycott. Moreover, the segregated African Americans had a good knowledge of the laws as well as the regulations, therefore, Rosa Parks’ arrest after her refusal to offer her seat to one of the white passengers did not have any form of the constitutional violation because her action did not break the law.
In addition, the presence of people who had background knowledge about what they were going through was also a motivator to the potential success of this boycott. After Parks had been arrested, Nixon doubted whether to tackle the matter legally or not. The ability of Nixon to intervene by paying a bond for the release of Parks gave her and Jo Ann Robinson an opportunity to rally other blacks to avoid boarding those buses till something was done to change the status quo. Prior to this, there had been the arrest of a student named Colvin. His arrest shed light on the need to do something about the segregation situation. It is, therefore, seen as one of the major elements that made this protest begin and reach its peak. Colvin’s action was the demonstration to other blacks that something had to be done urgently about their normal encounters on the buses. This even made Parks take the same initiative to encourage her fellow blacks to join her in action, protest, and participate in the boycott.
Apart from this, Rosa Parks had an intellectual and educational background in racial relationships; she was, therefore, acting based on her knowledge of what should be done if changes occurred in the society where she was living, and was even supported by a white lady named Virginia Foster Durr. This action was also fueled by the fact that she was working for NAACP, an organization which was interested in advocating for the rights and equal treatment of blacks as all other whites. The boycott gave Parks an opportunity to put her ideas into practice and prove that equality could be achieved if people were aggressive enough. The racial discrimination enhanced the need of African Americans to join hands and support abolition of this practice. In this way, the boycott proved successful when none of the blacks appeared to board either of the buses. Martin Luther King`s statement that “the once dormant and quiescent Negro community was now fully awake” illustrates the ability of African Americans to stand out and demonstrate readiness to fight for what they rightfully deserved. It was their willingness that made the boycott a great success.
The Montgomery Improvement Association formed by the Boycott participants developed a taxi plan that helped to pick up blacks from their home places and bring them to work. In such a way, the plan enhanced the degree of success of the boycott. This is because it countered the city official’s regulations on the taxi fares which were charging the same amount as the buses. The members of the association also had a common understanding and stood firm on their decisions owing to democratic involvements. This is evident when some of the members wanted the boycott to end after the one-day event which brought great success. Nonetheless, an election was conducted so as to ascertain the way forward and it appeared that the majority wanted the boycott to continue. Therefore, the boycott was a great success.
The fact that the boycott had its effect not only on the bus company but also on the shops and other businesses in town demonstrated the need to stop the racial segregation on the buses. Due to the boycott, few blacks were going to city centre and this implied that the shops and other establishments could not conduct their business as usual. The boycott caused great losses to shopkeepers who were fearful of losing their livelihoods. It, therefore, urged the city administration to bend the rules and reconsider the demand of blacks. This enhanced the degree to which this action succeeded and became a major historical event.
The formation of the MIA association was also important because it contributed to the success of this boycott by taking legal action against the bus company. This made the courts investigate the legality of segregation. As a result, the practice proved to be unconstitutional, and it became a success to the black community whom the segregation practices affected for a long time. The association also contributed by shunning hoaxes that other whites were presenting on the papers to help the boycott end. Whites informed African Americans that the issues and demands of the boycott had already been addressed by Martin Luther King. However, the claims were refuted by the MIA informing their members that such information had no ground and was false. This made the boycott continue till a better agreement was reached by the courts. As the boycott was proceeding, researchers from Fisk University decided to visit Montgomery to learn more about the movement that had arranged the boycott.
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The initiative taken by different participants in this boycott made a significant contribution to its success. It is apparent from Colvin’s adamancy to leave a white seat that he occupied on the bus, followed by Parks’ detestable action of not giving up her seat to a white person as the seat was reserved for blacks. The involvement of people like Luther King and Nixon had much to do with the success of this boycott because each played an active role in ensuring that their society was motivated to act and stick to what they believed was right. The boycott was a historical event for Africans Americans in their quest to end racial discrimination in the country.
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