On Dec. 5, 1955 the Montgomery Bus Boycott began. It is one of the most powerful stories of organizing and social change in U.S. history. Out of Montgomery’s 50,000 African American residents, 30,000-40,000 participated in the boycott. For 381 days, they walked or bicycled or car-pooled, depriving the bus company of a substantial portion of its revenue.
While most people remember Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, they forget that the Montgomery Bus Boycott succeeded because of the participation of tens of thousands of ordinary people. These women and men risked their lives and jobs to keep the boycott alive. Many, like this woman, walked instead of riding the segregated buses.
November 13, 1956 – The United States Supreme Court declares Alabama and Montgomery, Alabama laws requiring segregated buses illegal, thus ending the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The National City Lines bus, No. 2857, on which Rosa Parks was riding before she was arrested (a GM "old-look" transit bus, serial number 1132), is now a museum exhibit at the Henry Ford Museum.
In this 1955 picture, Rosa Parks is seen in her Montgomery county mugshot after being arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a public bus to a white passenger. The actions of Rosa Parks and the subsequent Montgomery Bus Boycott became important symbols of the Civil Rights Movement during the mid-20th century.