The Significance of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, 1956, in the Overall History of the Struggle for Civil Rights in the United States During the 1950s and 1960s?

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The Montgomery bus boycott was a 381 day protest against the Jim Crow segregation laws that existed in the southern states of the US during the 50s and 60s. It involved the ordinary black people of Montgomery and was the first time that ordinary black people took part in the challenge to discrimination against black Americans. The NAACP (National Association for the advancement of coloured people) and CORE (Congress of racial equality) worked away quietly for many years beforehand fighting in long court battles to end segregation but the Montgomery protest, although fought in courts, was massively supported on the streets.

Jo Ann Robinson of the Women’s League and E.D Nixon of the NAACP set up the MIA (Montgomery Improvement Association) which not only organised and lead the boycott of the buses but continued with peaceful protests despite harassment form white racists. Support increased as people approved of the non-violence in the protests. The MIA was of great pride across the US and the popular public opinion expressed on the streets was of great inspiration to black people who then went out and organised themselves in the towns and cities like that of Montgomery which launched the modern civil rights movement.

The black churches and religious leaders gathered from across the southern states and formed the SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference) to fight for civil rights for blacks by means of marches, demonstrations and boycotts. The black churches and leaders played a vital role in the Montgomery bus boycott. The MIA was allowed use the churches as meeting places and dispatch centres. The Montgomery bus boycott saw the emergence of one of the key figures in the civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, who became the President of both the MIA and SCLC. He was seen as the American Gandhi and appeared on the cover of Life magazine.

The media…...

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