Nine Months Before Rosa Parks: Four African-American Women Challenge Discrimination on Montgomery, Alabama Bus
The day Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama city bus, December 1, 1955, is celebrated as one of the landmarks of the Civil Rights Movement. Her action sparked the famous Montgomery Bus Boycott, which began on December 5, 1955. The boycott, however, did not desegregate the buses. That was accomplished by a lawsuit that began nine months earlier, on this day, when four women — Claudette Colvin, Aurelia Browder, Susie McDonald and Mary Louise Smith — challenged segregation on the Montgomery buses. It was their case, Browder v. Gayle, in which a federal district court on June 13, 1956, and eventually the U.S. Supreme Court on December 17, 1956 , struck down segregation on the Montgomery buses.
Learn more about “The Women Before Rosa Parks”: http://www.tolerance.org/article/browder-v-gayle-women-rosa-parks
Read: Stewart Burns, Daybreak of Freedom: The Montgomery Bus Boycott (1997)
Learn more about Claudette Colvin: http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu/index.php/encyclopedia/encyclopedia/enc_colvin_claudette_1939/
Watch a documentary on the Montgomery bus boycott: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_VlnhfNQZE