How It All Started
The Montgomery Bus Boycott officially started on December 5, 1955. That was the day when the blacks of Montgomery, Alabama decided that they would boycott the city buses until they could sit anywhere they wanted on the bus, instead of being pushed to the back when a white person entered.
On December 1, 1955, an African American woman, named Rosa Parks, was on her way home from work. She was riding the city bus. The law for city buses at that time was that all African Americans sit in the back while the Whites sit in the front. If there were no Whites in the front, an African American could sit in those seats, but as soon as a White person entered, that African American must move to the back or stand. Rosa Parks, however, challenged this law by choosing to stay seated in the area designated only for whites when a white male passenger entered the same city bus she was riding. The bus driver asked for her standup so the male could sit and she refused. A police officer came and said "Lady, you're under arrest." and Rosa Parks said "You may do that."
Four days later on December 5, 1955, Parks was arrested for disorderly conduct. On that same day, a group of African Americans founded the Montgomery Improvement Association and named the young pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., as its leader. The forming of this group signified that the bus boycott had begun.
The Feelings Before Rosa Parks
Though the arrest of Rosa Parks sparked the boycott, there were many more conflicts dealing with the rights of African Americans that contributed to the uprising of the non violent protest. Before the arrest of Parks even took place, other African Americans had been arrested for the same thing that got Parks arrested. Pressure had already been building up in Montgomery for some time to deal with public transportation practices that treated African Americans as second-class citizens. The pressure was increased when a 15-year-old girl, Claudette Colvin, was arrested on March 2, 1955, for refusing to give up her seat to a white person. Some of the city's black leaders thought that they had missed an opportunity for more serious action following the Colvin arrest. So when Parks was arrested a few months later, the stage was already set for a boycott.