What is segregation?
Why was Rosa Parks arrested?
Why was the Montgomery bus boycott an effective protest?
The Montgomery Bus Boycott
The Civil Rights Movement
Before 1955, there were laws that kept white people and black people apart from each other. Keeping white people and black people separate was called segregation. Segregation was common in the United States. There were schools for white students and schools for black students. Let’s say that you wanted to go out to dinner. There were restaurants for white people and restaurants for black people. White people and black people even had separate restrooms and water fountains.
Segregation happened on buses and trains. There were places for black people to sit and places for white people to sit.
This black woman is Rosa Parks. In 1955, Rosa got on a bus — this bus — in Montgomery, Alabama. In those days, black people were supposed to ride in the back of a bus.
Rosa sat down in the front of the bus. “Lady,” said the bus driver. “That seat is for white folks. It’s the law”
Rosa refused to move. Your law is not fair, she thought.
Rosa Parks was arrested for not giving up her seat.
The arrest of Rosa Parks led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The boycott meant that black people would not ride the buses. Now the buses would lose money. This newspaper tells the story. The buses were losing $3,000 dollars a day because black people refused to ride. $3,000 dollars in 1955 is the same as $29,000 dollars today.
The boycott lasted a whole year! It was hard for the people who rode the bus to get to work. Some people shared car rides. But many black people had to walk to work.
In the United States, the Supreme Court is the highest court in the land. In 1956, the Supreme Court said it is illegal (against the law) to segregate seating on buses. The Court said, “Black people can sit anywhere they want.”
The Montgomery Bus Boycott was a major event in the Civil Rights Movement. The Civil Rights Movement was a movement to end segregation and win equal rights for African Americans. It showed people that a boycott and protesting could change laws.