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Timeline of the Montgomery Bus Boycott

Parks was arrested on December 1, 1955 for refusing to give up her seat in the front of a bus in Montgomery set off a successful boycott of the city busses.

March 1954

The Women’s Political Council meets with Montgomery mayor W. A. Gayle to outline their recommended changes for the Montgomery bus system

March 2, 1955

Claudette Colvin arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white woman.

March 1955

Black leaders in Montgomery, including E. D. Nixon, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr meet with city officials to discuss bus seating requirements

October 21, 1955

Mary Louise Smith arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white woman

December 1, 1955 

Rosa Parks arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger

December 2, 1955

The WPC calls for a one-day bus boycott on December 5

December 5, 1955

Instead of the expected 60% turnout, an estimated 90%-100% of the black community in Montgomery choose to participate in the boycott. Black leaders meet to dicuss the possibility of extending the boycott. The Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) is created at this meeting, and Dr. King elected its president. The MIA votes to extend the boycott

December 8, 1955

The MIA issues a formal list of demands. The city refuses to comply

December 13, 1955

The MIA implements a carpool system to support citizens taking part in the boycott

January 30, 1956

Dr. King's home is bombed. In response, Dr. King calls for peaceful protest rather than violent action

February 1, 1956

E. D. Nixon's home is bombed

February 21, 1956

Over 80 boycott leaders are indicted by the city under Alabama's anti-conspiracy laws

March 19, 1956

Dr. King is indicted as a leader of the boycott and ordered to pay $500 or serve 386 days in jail

June 5, 1956

A federal district court rules that bus segregation is unconstitutional

November 13, 1956

The Supreme Court upholds the district court ruling, and strikes down laws requiring racial segregation on buses. The MIA resolves to end the boycott only when the order to desegregate is officially implemented

December 20, 1956

The Supreme Court's orders of injunction against segregation on city buses are delivered to the Montgomery City Hall

December 21, 1956

Montgomery's buses are officially desegregated. The MIA ends the boycott.