There was once a time when blacks were only slaves in America, they had no rights and no freedom. Nowadays segregation has been abolished, racism and discrimination have been broken down and blacks are now able to live their lives free as equal citizens in the American society. Blacks in America did not get these civil rights overnight; it was a long and hard fought path to freedom. There were many important events, which helped to give blacks civil rights and abolish segregation.
One historical event that was important for the civil rights movement was the Montgomery bus boycott that started in December 1955 and finally ended in June 1956 when the courts ruled in favour of the blacks. In this essay the causes and consequences of this event will be described. There were several factors which caused the ‘Montgomery Bus’ boycott. Many of the civil rights battles blacks had to fight were due to the case ‘Plessy vs. Ferguson’ in 1896. In this case a “separate but equal” standard was set down.
This meant that segregation between blacks and whites could be enforced, but the segregation had to be equal between the races. From this case the ‘Jim Crow’ laws were established. This system of laws and customs enforced racial segregation and discrimination throughout the United States, from the late 19th century through to the 1960s. These laws were applied everywhere; segregation on buses was one of the places. This is a main cause for the ‘Montgomery Bus’ boycott as without Plessy vs. Ferguson segregation wouldn’t have been enforced on buses and therefore there would have been no boycott.
The issue of segregation on buses came to head when black women, Rosa Parks, refused to give up her seat to a white person. This event sparked off the modern direct action civil rights movement, which helped change the history of the United States of America. The arrest of Rosa Parks gave what many leading blacks in Montgomery were looking for; it created the perfect chance to take a stand against racial discrimination. This action was the beginning event which led to the desegregation of public transport throughout America. This is the reason why she is one of the main causes of the bus boycott. This event instigated the decision by the rest of the black community to stand up against the racial discrimination by boycotting the buses in Montgomery. These strong individuals stopped using the buses in Montgomery and instead walked or carpooled. The bus boycott continued for around a year from 5 December 1955 to 4 June 1956. This action by the black community had a powerful impact as the bus transport suffered a huge economic loss and could not continue to operate successfully without the blacks using the buses.
The attention the boycott received from the media was also another factor that had an impact. This propelled the black civil rights issues into national consciousness. The united strength of the community standing together is therefore a major cause in the success of the Montgomery bus boycott and overthrowing segregation. The ‘Montgomery Bus’ boycott had many consequences on blacks and the success of the civil rights movement. The community working together, consequential media attention and support of the NAACP led to a successful Supreme Court challenge.
This meant that states could no longer insist on their own laws of segregation on public transport. The ‘Montgomery Bus’ boycott also had outcomes that reached far beyond the desegregation of public buses. The protest propelled the civil rights movement into national consciousness and Martin Luther King (who was the leader of the protest) into the public eye. The Montgomery bus boycott also showed people that non-violent resistance was a successful weapon in civil right campaigns. In the words of King “We have gained a new sense of dignity and destiny.
We have discovered a new and powerful weapon- non-violent resistance. ” The ‘Montgomery Bus’ boycott was an event that had many causes and consequences. Some of the main causes were Plessy vs. Ferguson, which led to Jim Crow laws and was therefore the reason the buses were segregated. Rosa Park was another, by refusing to give up her seat she started of a chain of events that led to the successful protest. The Montgomery community was also an essential part in the success of the bus boycott.
The previous events mention resulted in the Supreme Court ruling that segregation was unconstitutional, which meant buses were desegregated. Important new leaders like Martin Luther King emerged as national figures and non-violent resistance was discovered as a successful method in civil rights campaigns. The events of the Montgomery bus boycott were a significant part of the transition from a time where black Americans had no rights to the point were they now have equal rights in the law.