We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Was the Montgomery Bus Boycott?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The Montgomery Bus Boycott was a famous incident in the American Civil Rights Movement which many people credit with paving the way to the passage of the Civil Rights Act and other legislation designed to prevent discrimination against people on the basis of their skin color. It has also become an emblem of the Civil Rights Movement for many people, illustrating the power of organized protest, and it has inspired many diverse protests, ranging from lunch counter sit ins to anti-war marches.

The roots of the Montgomery Bus Boycott lie in a man named E.D. Nixon, an activist who wanted to fight the traditionally segregated buses of Montgomery, Alabama, as part of the larger and still nascent Civil Rights Movement. Nixon led a number of workshops which African-American activists took part in, and initially he thought he had a starting point for a protest when a teenager named Claudette Colvin was arrested for failing to give up her seat to a white man. However, Colvin was pregnant, and Nixon felt that she would not make a good rallying point.

In late 1955, a seamstress named Rosa Parks boarded a bus and sat in the fifth row, the first row that blacks were allowed to sit in, along with several others. The bus slowly started to fill up, and eventually a white man boarded the bus and couldn't find anywhere to sit in the front. The others in the fifth row got up to allow the man to sit down, but Rosa Parks refused to budge, and she was arrested as a result. Nixon had found his rallying point, and he quickly got the local black community into action.

On 1 December, 1955, the black community voted to boycott the bus system until it was desegregated. The Montgomery Bus Boycott, as it came to be called, lasted until 20 December, 1956, when the Supreme Court finally decided that the segregation of buses was unconstitutional, and required the integration of Montgomery's bus system. The success of the Montgomery Bus Boycott inspired other communities to take action, and it was the making of prominent activists like Martin Luther King.

For the black community, the Montgomery Bus Boycott was far from easy. Many people didn't have cars, relying on a friendly taxi system of friends, neighbors, and church-owned vehicles to sustain the boycott. Numerous people were arrested and charged under laws which made such boycotts illegal, and it took several legal challenges to reach the Supreme Court victory. The success of the Montgomery Bus Boycott illustrates the power that a group of people can have when they set their minds to something, whether it be the end of segregation or the establishment of a colony on Mars.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Related Articles

Discussion Comments
By anon209196 — On Aug 25, 2011

I find it interesting that Rosa Parks was originally seated in a section open to black riders. I had always thought she deliberately took a seat in the "Whites Only" section and refused to move when ordered. The fact that she was in a row of seats that was perfectly legal for blacks makes the background story even more disturbing. She didn't move because she wasn't required to move. She was well within her rights (such as they were for blacks) not to move. This was more of an act of social defiance on her part, not a specifically illegal act.

Rosa Parks' actions that day helped galvanize the early Civil Rights movement, even if her participation may have been orchestrated by others seeking a test case for the Montgomery segregation laws. Considering how this situation could have easily ended in violence, she is to be commended in perpetuity for her courage and commitment during a dark time in Alabama and national history.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.