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Remembering the Montgomery bus boycott…

Civil Rights Arrests-Records
FILE - Rosa Parks is fingerprinted by police Lt. D.H. Lackey in Montgomery, Ala., Feb. 22, 1956, two months after refusing to give up her seat on a bus for a white passenger on Dec. 1, 1955. The quest by a civil rights pioneer to have her arrest record wiped clean after nearly 70 years after she protested racial segregation has raised the possibility of similar bids to clear the names of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr., whose convictions remain on the books in Alabama's capital. (AP Photo/Gene Herrick, File)

It was on this date back in 1956 that city buses in Montgomery were integrated. A decision by the U.S. Supreme Court the day before cleared the way for African American passengers to sit where they chose. A thirteen-month boycott was sparked when Civil Rights icon Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger. Madeline Burkhardt is with the Montgomery museum named for Parks. She says part of the job for the museum to present a complete picture of what went on back then…

“People who grew up, heard that the Montgomery Bus Boycott was super peaceful. And it was. But it was peaceful on one side of things,” Burkhardt recalled. “People who were against the boycott where being very violent. And that violence really picked up after integration on December 21, 1956.”

Rosa Parks and her husband left Montgomery and moved to Detroit due to harassment after the bus boycott. The two settled in Detroit. Madeline Burkhardt says it’s encouraging to see younger people following Parks’ example…

“They are turning out, at protest rallies, they’re on Tik Tok, they’re contacting people,” said Burkhardt They’re doing this kind of work that Mrs. Parks was hoping that young adults and teenagers would do.”

Doctor Martin Luther King, junior’s barber Nelson Malden recalled the first day of the Montgomery Bus Boycott for Alabama Public Radio. That story can be heard again with the link below…

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
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