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Describe the impact of the montgomery bus boycott

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Describe the impact of the Montgomery bus boycott During the 1940s and 1950s there was little practical progress made in civil rights, NAACP had been concentrating on, ironically, lawful ways to fix what was wrong with the justice system, they had been focusing on court cases and representation. There had been some advances, e.g the Brown case which deemed that segregated education was indeed unconstitutional. However although the case invoked passion across America it was the Montgomery bus boycott which was a turning point for civil rights, it showed Alabama that African Americans were serious, and willing to go to great lengths for their cause. Rosa Parks was a dignified and respected women, she was friendly to neighbours and believed strongly in equality. Her attitude and reputation already gave her the moral high ground against opponents. Parks decided she did not want to give up her seat for a black man and was subsequently arrested, her arrest and trial sparked outrage across the black community and there was a call for action, for something direct to be done. ...read more.


They weren't great leaders or powerful people, they were plain and responsible citizens, this allowed others across the United States to empathise with them, with their calm manner they seemed as if they were in the right, making the Montgomery council seem stubborn, unfair and wrong. Immediately giving them the advantage. The shock value to the white community had a huge impact, many were surprised at how well the boycott had been organised and pulled off, for some it improved their view of African Americans, but as ever with extreme situations it polarised opinions and popularity of white civil councils rose, with membership increasing. However the boycott would have frightened the white community, it threatened their livelihood, most of the people who used the buses were black, and without them the bus owners could go bankrupt. It also affected downtown businesses, as they were further away from black housing African Americans were less likely to shop there. The boycott highlighted the economic power of black people, even if whites would admit it they relied on black people for their income. ...read more.


This highlighted the stubbornness of the white officials, and showed to the rest of the country the irony of the situation, the African Americans who had been oppressed were walking calmly to work and not responding to violence, whereas the apparently superior white people were acting pettily and some were resorting to violence. The media played a big part during the boycott, their role was to film the protesters and show their courage and commitment to the world, especially the northern states, it brought the stories into their houses and made them realise what was going on in their own country, it showed the differences between north and south. The Montgomery bus boycott also demonstrated the problem between State and federal law, they were often in contradiction and disagreed, the issue of segregation highlighted this. The Montgomery bus boycott eventually won, buses were desegregated. In comparison to the years to follow one could say bus segregation in Alabama was not a huge gain, however at the time it was a large amount of progress, it acted as a blue print for further protests and direct action, it showed a nation that the boycotters were serious, and that ordinary African Americans could do something about their situation. ...read more.

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