December 1 Peace Love Art Activism

December 1 Peace Love Art Activism

INDEPENDENCE DAY

December 1, 1918: an Act of Union was signed by Denmark, allowing Iceland to become a sovereign state, however still under the Danish monarchy. (see January 22, 1919)

December 1 Peace Love Art Activism

Emma Goldman

December 1 Peace Love Activism

December 1, 1919: the Department of Labor ordered Goldman and Alexander Berkman to appear at Ellis Island for deportation to Russia. (NYT article)(see EG for expanded chronology)

December 1 Peace Love Art Activism

BLACK HISTORY

Feminism & Montgomery Bus Boycott

December 1 Peace Love Activism

December 1, 1955 [Thursday]: Police arrested Rosa Parks after she refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a crowded Montgomery city bus. In response to Parks’ arrest, Montgomery’s black community organized a boycott of city buses until seating policies are successfully changed. The night of Parks’ arrest, Jo Ann Robinson called the other Women’s Political Council leaders and they agreed that this was the right time for a bus boycott. Robinson stayed up all night copying 35,000 handbills by a mimeograph machine at Alabama State College to distribute the next day. She called students and arranged to meet them at elementary and high schools in the morning. The boycott will last 381-days.

In April 1956, Rosa Parks related the following description of her action that day.

ROSA PARKS: I left work on my way home, December 1st, 1955, about 6:00 in the afternoon. I boarded the bus downtown Montgomery on Court Square. As the bus proceeded out of town on the third stop, the white passengers had filled the front of the bus. When I got on the bus, the rear was filled with colored passengers, and they were beginning to stand. The seat I occupied was the first of the seats where the Negro passengers take as they—on this route. The driver noted that the front of the bus was filled with white passengers, and there would be two or three men standing. He looked back and asked that the seat where I had taken, along with three other persons: one in a seat with me and two across the aisle were seated. He demanded the seats that we were occupying. The other passengers there reluctantly gave up their seats. But I refused to do so.

I want to make very certain that it is understood that I had not taken a seat in the white section, as has been reported in many cases. An article came out in the newspaper on Friday morning about the Negro woman overlooked segregation. She was seated in the front seat, the white section of the bus and refused to take a seat in the rear of the bus. That was the first newspaper account. The seat where I occupied, we were in the custom of taking this seat on the way home, even though at times on this same bus route, we occupied the same seat with whites standing, if their space had been taken up, the seats had been taken up. I was very much surprised that the driver at this point demanded that I remove myself from the seat.

The driver said that if I refused to leave the seat, he would have to call the police. And I told him, “Just call the police.” He then called the officers of the law. They came and placed me under arrest, violation of the segregation law of the city and state of Alabama in transportation. I didn’t think I was violating any. I felt that I was not being treated right, and that I had a right to retain the seat that I had taken as a passenger on the bus. The time had just come when I had been pushed as far as I could stand to be pushed, I suppose. They placed me under arrest. (Black History, see Dec 3; Bussing, see February 1, 1956; Feminism, see March 9, 1959)

MARTIN LUTHER KING

December 1, 1964: Martin Luther King and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover had a tense meeting in Hoover’s office. A public conflict between the two had erupted when King criticized the FBI for failing to enforce civil rights and Hoover replied by calling King the “most notorious liar” in the country.

The meeting was allegedly designed to heal the rift. At the meeting, however, Hoover told King a number of things about his activity that King realized could only have come from intensive surveillance, including wiretapping. King left the meeting deeply shaken about the extent of FBI spying on his activities. (BH, see Dec 4; MLK, see Dec 10)

George Whitmore, Jr

December 1, 1965: the jury found Richard Robles guilty. (next BH, see Dec 3;  see Whitmore for expanded chronology)

BLACK & SHOT

December 1, 2015: responding to an uproar over a white officer shooting Laquan McDonald, a black teenager, 16 times and anger at the Police Department for resisting, for more than a year to release of the video of the fatal shooting , Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel fired Chicago’s police superintendent. (B & S, and McDonald, see Dec 6)

December 1 Peace Love Art Activism

The Cold War

Nuclear/Chemical News

December 1, 1959: signing of the Antarctic Treaty and related agreements, collectively known as the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS), to regulate international relations with respect to Antarctica, The treaty, entering into force in 1961 and having 53 parties as of 2016, sets aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve, establishes freedom of scientific investigation and bans military activity on that continent. The treaty was the first arms control agreement established during the Cold War. The Antarctic Treaty Secretariat headquarters have been located in Buenos Aires, Argentina, since September 2004. (NYT article)(see February 13, 1960)

Cultural Milestone

December 1 Peace Love Art Activism

December 1, 1961: a press release by the Department of Defense stated: The National Fallout Shelter Sign will be a familiar sight in communities all over the United States next year. It will mark buildings and other facilities as areas where 50 or more persons can be sheltered from radioactive fallout resulting from a nuclear attack. The sign will be used only to mark Federally-approved buildings surveyed by architect-engineer firms under conract to the Department of Defense. The color combination, yellow and black, is considered as the most easily identified attention getter by psychologists in the graphic arts industry. The sign can be seen and recognized at distances up to 200 feet. The shelter symbol on the sign is a black circle set against a yellow rectangular background. Inside the circle, three yellow triangles are arranged in geometric pattern with the apex of the triangles pointing down. Below the fallout symbol, lettered in yellow against black, are the words FALLOUT SHELTER in plain block letters. Yellow directional arrows are located directly underneath the lettering which will indicate the location of the shelter. [2017 NYT article] (Cold War, see Dec 2; Cultural Milestone, see May 19, 1962)

Bonnie Dobson

In 1962 Bonnie Dobson released the post apocalyptic song, “Morning Dew” It was later covered most famously by the Grateful Dead.

Also in 1962  Malvina Reynolds released “What Have They Done to the Rain.” It points out danger of nuclear war. (Cold War, see Jan 2; Nuclear News, see Feb 16; News Music, see October 8, 1963)

December 1 Peace Love Art Activism

December 1 Music et al

McCartney & Best leave Germany

December 1, 1960: McCartney and Best arrived at London Airport. They spent their remaining money on a bus to Euston Station and a train ticket to Liverpool. John Lennon stayed behind in Hamburg for a while. (see Beatles Deported for expanded chronology)

My Son, the Folk Singer

My Son, the Folk Singer

December 1 – 14, 1962: Allen Sherman’s My Son, the Folk Singer Billboard #1 album.

“Beatlemania”

December 1, 1963: The New York Times Sunday Magazine, ran a story on “Beatlemania” in the U.K. (NYT article) (see Dec 2)

Kool Aid UK Military

December 1, 1964: British soldiers were given LSD as part of research into how the drug might affect their capabilities as well as military operations. From the Imperial War Museum’s description of the filmed summary: Introductory title places trial in context of recent research to discover chemical agents able to incapacitate enemy forces but with negligible risk of fatal casualties. … One Marine in state of distress is comforted by nurse, while others smile and laugh hysterically, one attempting to cut down a tree with his spade, and another climbing the tree. … After exercise Marines rest in bed in Porton ward … One very distressed Marine is held by duffel coated doctor and scientist, muttering “I am not going to die.”  Cut back to end of the exercise, with Marines departing by truck, before concluding title states that despite promising results of experiment, further research is needed into methods of disseminating drug, the effects of larger doses and establishing economical production techniques. “Despite these and other problems, LSD is regarded in the light of present knowledge as one of the drugs which merits more detailed examination and testing.”

LSD/2016

December 1, 2016: The Journal of Psychopharmacology concurrently released studies by researchers at New York University, with 29 patients, and at Johns Hopkins University, with 51 on the possible therapeutic benefit of psilocybin. The studies proceeded after arduous review by regulators and were the largest and most meticulous among a handful of trials. The results were striking. About 80 percent of cancer patients showed clinically significant reductions in both psychological disorders, a response sustained some seven months after the single dose. Side effects were minimal. (see September 4, 2019)

December 1 Peace Love Art Activism

Immigration History

 

December 1, 1965: the start of a refugee airlift from Cuba. A Pan American World Airways left Miami’s International Airport at 7 a.m., carrying only its crew and two officials of the U.S. Public Health and Immigration departments. It returned three hours and 35 minutes later from Varadero, Cuba, with 90 refugees, the first of up to 100,000 expected in the new wave of immigration. (see April 5, 1973)

December 1 Peace Love Art Activism

Vietnam

Russell Tribunal

December 1, 1967: having spent a year investigating America’s intervention in Southeast Asia and now on its the last day of the International War Crimes Tribunal’s second session, the panel, also known as the Russell Tribunal after its founder, the philosopher Bertrand Russell, announced its findings. Tribunal members and unanimously found the United States “guilty on all charges, including genocide, the use of forbidden weapons, maltreatment and killing of prisoners, violence and forceful movement of prisoners” in Vietnam and its neighbors Laos and Cambodia.

The philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre had presided over the tribunal and helped to recruit 23 other internationally recognized academics, scientists, lawyers, former heads of state and peace activists whose self-professed moral consciousness persuaded them to accept the tribunal’s invitation. Across two separate sessions, between May 2 and May 10, 1967, in Stockholm, and between Nov. 20 and Dec. 1, 1967 in Roskilde, the members weighed the evidence that each had found during several fact-finding trips to Vietnam between the two sessions. (see Dec 5)

First draft lottery

December 1 Peace Love Activism

December 1, 1969:  the first draft lottery in the United States was held since World War II. [list] (see Dec 5)

December 1 Peace Love Art Activism

Feminism

Women’s Equity Action League

December 1 Peace Love Art Activism

December 1, 1968: The Women’s Equity Action League (WEAL) established as an alternative to the National Organization for Women (NOW) for those who support women’s equality in employment and education but do not want to address the issue of abortion. (see January 31, 1969)

Our Bodies Ourselves

December 1 Peace Love Art Activism

December 1, 1970:  The Boston Women’s Health Book Collective published Our Bodies Ourselves: A Book By and For Women. The book encouraged women to become educated about their health and provided accurate information about body image, sexuality, and reproduction. (see Dec 17)

December 1 Peace Love Art Activism

AIDS

December 1 Peace Love Art Activism

December 1, 1988: the World Health Organization organized the first World AIDS Day to raise awareness of the spreading pandemic. (see March 29, 1990)

December 1 Peace Love Art Activism

CLINTON IMPEACHMENT

December 1, 1998: on a party-line vote, the House Judiciary Committee expanded its impeachment inquiry to include alleged campaign finance abuses, approving subpoenas for Attorney General Janet Reno, FBI Director Louis Freeh and federal prosecutor Charles LaBella. (see CI for expanded chronology)

December 1 Peace Love Art Activism

SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE

December 1, 2014: Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy’s Grammar School in Forest City, N.C., ended teacher-led prayer and implemented a new policy on religion after a Nov. 6 complaint by Staff Attorney Patrick Elliott on behalf of a parent. A second-grade teacher had led students in prayer before lunch each day.

The parent was later told the prayers would be replaced with a moment of silence, but the teacher reportedly instead called on a student to lead the prayer. Elliott noted that a moment of silence did not cure the problem because it was clearly intended for prayer.

The principal responded Dec. 1, attaching an extensive new policy the charter school’s governing board had adopted clarifying that while students remain free to pray on their own, “School administrators and teachers may not organize or encourage prayer exercises in classrooms. The right of religious expression in school does not include the right to have a captive audience listen, or to compel other students to participate.” (see January 20, 2015)

December 1 Peace Love Art Activism

Cannabis

December 1, 2019: the state Marijuana Regulatory Agency announced that Michigan adults 21 and older were able to buy marijuana.

Michigan became one of 11 states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington) and the District of Columbia which had legalized the use of marijuana for recreational purposes.

Michigan’s medical marijuana dispensaries would be permitted to sell up to 50 percent of cannabis products on the recreational market if they were at least 30 days old, according to a bulletin from the state regulatory agency. (see Cannabis re more on Cannabis)

December 1 Peace Love Art Activism

Trump Impeachment Inquiry/Public

December 1, 2019: lawyers for President Trump said that they would not participate in the House Judiciary Committee’s first public impeachment hearing on December 3, airing a long list of complaints that they said prevented “any semblance of a fair process.”

The refusal to send lawyers continued a pattern of stonewalling by Trump, who had sought to block witnesses and documents, as he and his allies called the proceedings “deranged” and a “witch hunt.” People familiar with the president’s legal strategy had said privately that his lawyers were deeply suspicious of taking part in a process they view as unfair to Trump.  [NYT article] (see TII/P for expanded chronology)

December 1 Peace Love Art Activism
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December Peace Love Art Activism

December Peace Love Art Activism

BLACK HISTORY

Dred Scott’s Decembers

In December 1843: the forty-year-old Dr John Emerson died suddenly. His widow, Irene, inherited his estate. For the next three years, the Scotts worked as hired slaves with the rent going to Irene Emerson. (next BH, see January 30, 1844)

In December 1854: Scott appealed to the Supreme Court alleging that Judge Wells had made an error in charging the jury that Scott was not entitled to his freedom. The appeal reached Washington too late for the 1854 term, so the Supreme Court held the case over for the December 1855 term and finally heard arguments in February 1856. (next BH, see May 1, 1855)

In December 1856: the US Supreme Court heard arguments and also asked questions about the constitutionality of the Missouri Compromise. It was an election year and perhaps for political reasons, the Court declined to render a decision until the spring of 1857.(see Dred Scott for an expanded chronology)

Intermarriage ban

December 1912: Rep. Seaborn Roddenbery (D-GA) made a second attempt to amend the U.S. Constitution in order to ban interracial marriage in all 50 states. Roddenbery’s proposed amendment read as follows: “That intermarriage between negroes or persons of color and Caucasians or any other character of persons within the United States or any territory under their jurisdiction, is forever prohibited; and the term ‘negro or person of color,’ as here employed, shall be held to mean any and all persons of African descent or having any trace of African or negro blood.”  (2004 NYT article) (see July 20, 1914)

Scottsboro Decembers/Supreme Court

In December 1936: after the Supreme Court again reversed the convictions of the Scottsboro Boys in 1936, Alabama Attorney General Thomas E Knight, Jr met secretly with their lawyer Samuel Leibowitz in New York to discuss a possible compromise.  Knight told Leibowitz he was “sick of the cases,” and that they were causing Alabama considerable political and economic harm.  According to Leibowitz, Knight by that time had come to believe that Price was lying and no rape had ever occurred.  Nonetheless, he thought jail time appropriate because at least some of the Scottsboro Boys were guilty of assault for having thrown the white boys off the train.  After several meetings between the two, a compromise was reached that would result in the release of four of the defendants and a reduction of sought charges for the others. (next BH, see May 17, 1937)

Scottsboro Decembers/Barroom fight

In December 1950: Haywood Patterson involved in a Michigan barroom fight resulting in the death of another man.  Haywood charged with murder. FBI arrested Haywood Patterson, but Michigan’s governor refused extradition to Alabama.

Black Panthers

December Peace Love Art Activism

In December 1966: sixteen-year-old Bobby Hutton becomes the first male recruit of the Black Panther Party.  [NPR story on Hutton] (BH, see Dec 5; BP, see “In January 1967”)

December Peace Love Art Activism

Native Americans

In December 1862: 303 Sioux were convicted of murder and rape (Some trials lasted less than 5 minutes. No one explained the proceedings to the defendants, nor were the Sioux represented by a defense in court) [1862 Sioux war]  (see Dec 26)

December Peace Love Art Activism

Environmental Issues

In December 1908: the U.S. National Conservation Commission which prepared the first inventory of the natural resources of the United States. It was divided into four sections, water, forests, lands, and minerals, each section having a chairman, and with Gifford Pinchot as chairman of the executive committee gave its three-volume report at the the Joint Conservation Congress   20 governors, representatives of 22 state conservation commissions, and leaders from various national organizations attended. (see January 19, 1919)

December Peace Love Art Activism

Feminism & Voting Rights

In December 1910: The National League for Opposing Woman Suffrage founded in London 1910 to oppose the extension of the voting franchise to women in the United Kingdom. It was formed as an amalgamation of the Women’s National Anti-Suffrage League and the Men’s League for Opposing Woman Suffrage. Its first president was Lord Cromer, and its executive committee consisted of seven men and seven women. (next F, see Early News Music ; VR, see March 3, 1913)

December Peace Love Art Activism

Cultural Milestones

Hugh Hefner

December Peace Love Art Activism

In December 1953: Hugh Hefner published the first issue of Playboy magazine. (see April 6, 1954)

December Peace Love Art Activism

Women’s Health

In December 1960: birth control pill goes on sale. (see February 23, 1961)

December Peace Love Art Activism

LSD

Professor J S Slotkin

In December 1952: Professor J. S. Slotkin published Menomini Peyotism in the Transactions of the American Philosophical Society.

In it, Slotkin has wrote that “the habitual use of Peyote does not seem to produce any increased tolerance or dependence. I know many people who have been Peyotists for forty to fifty years. The amount of Peyote they use depends upon the solemnity of the occasion; in general they do not take any more Peyote now than they did years ago. Also, there is sometimes an interval of a month or more between rites, and they go without Peyote during this period without feeling any craving for it. Personally, even after a series of rites occurring on four successive weekends. I neither increased the amount of Peyote consumed nor felt any continued need for it.” It is evidently with good reason that “Peyote has never been legally declared a narcotic, or its use prohibited by the federal government.” However, “during the long history of Indian-white contact, white officials have usually tried to suppress the use of Peyote, because it has been conceived to violate their own mores. But these at- tempts have always failed.” In a footnote Dr. Slotkin adds that “it is amazing to hear the fantastic stories about the effects of Peyote and the nature of the ritual, which are told by the white and Catholic Indian officials in the Menomini Reservation. None of them have had the slightest first-hand experience with the plant or with the religion, yet some fancy themselves to be authorities and write official reports on the subject.”

Dr. Humphry Osmond

In 1953: Dr. Humphry Osmond began treating alcoholics with LSD.

Doors of Perception

In 1954: The Doors of Perception, a philosophical essay by Aldous Huxley, released as a book. It detailed his experiences when taking mescaline. The book took the form of Huxley’s recollection of a mescaline trip that took place over the course of an afternoon in May 1953. The book took its

title from a phrase in William Blake’s 1793 poem The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Huxley recalled the insights he experienced, which ranged from the “purely aesthetic” to “sacramental vision”.

Conference

In 1955: First conferences focusing on LSD and mescaline took place in Atlantic City and Princeton, N.J. (see 1955)

Aldous Huxley

In 1955: with Al Hubbard’s assistance, novelist Aldous Huxley first took LSD. (see March 14, 1957)

December Peace Love Art Activism

December Music et al

Bob Dylan

Mid-December 1960: Dylan leaves Minnesota for New York. He will stop at a number of places along the way. (see January 24, 1961)

Thelonius Monk

In December 1961: Thelonius Monk with John Coltrane album released.

Bob Dylan

In mid-December 1961: shortly after recording his first album for Columbia, Dylan moved into his first rented apartment in the middle of West Fourth Street, a tiny, scruffy place above Bruno’s Spaghetti Shop, and persuaded his girlfriend, Suze Rotolo, to move in with him. (see January 1962)

Jimi Hendrix

In December 1965: The Leaves released single of “Hey Joe” later covered by Jimi Hendrix. (September 24, 1966)

News Music

In December 1966: Simon and Garfunkel’s Seven O’clock News/Silent Night Beginning softly at first, a newscast reports various discomforting events and gradually overrides Simon and Garfunkel singing of Silent Night.

Rock Venues

December Peace Love Art Activism

In December 1973: New York bar owner Hilly Kristal opened CBGB in December 1973 at 315 Bowery in Manhattan, the site of his former establishment, Hilly’s on the Bowery. Before that, Kristal had put most of his energy into a West Village nightclub. When noise complaints forced him to close, he focused on his property in a less desirable part of town. (see October 11, 2006)

December Peace Love Art Activism

Vietnam

In December, 1967: “Stop the Draft” movement organized by 40 antiwar groups, nationwide protests ensue; 486,000 American troops in Vietnam, of the 15,000 killed to date, 60% died in 1967 (see Dec 5)

Daniel Ellsberg/Pentagon Papers

In December 1968:  Ellsberg first met with Henry Kissinger, national security adviser to president-elect Richard Nixon, to advise him on options in the U.S. military. (see Ellsberg for full story)

December Peace Love Art Activism

CLINTON IMPEACHMENT

Monica Lewinsky moves

In December 1995: Monica Lewinsky moved into a paid position in the Office of Legislative Affairs, handling letters from members of Congress. She frequently ferried mail to the Oval Office.

Monica Lewinsky leaves

In December 1997: Monica Lewinsky left the Pentagon. (see CI for expanded chronology)

AIDS

In December, 2007: Centers for Disease Control reported over 565,000 people had died of AIDS in the U.S. since 1981. (see October 30, 2009)

December Peace Love Art Activism

Stop and Frisk Policy

December 2005 report

In 2005, 399,043 New Yorkers were stopped by the police. [196,977 were black (49 percent); 115, 395 were Latino (29 percent); 40,837 were white (10 percent)]

December 2006 report

In 2006, 508,540 New Yorkers were stopped by the police. [268,610 were black (53 percent); 148,364 were Latino (29 percent); 53,793 were white (11 percent)] (see February 5, 2007)

December 2007 report

In 2007, 468,732 New Yorkers were stopped by the police. [242,373 were black (52 percent); 142,903 were Latino (31 percent); 52,715 were white (11 percent)] (see April 15, 2008)

December 2008 report

In 2008, 531,159 New Yorkers were stopped by the police. [271,602 were black (51 percent); 167,111 were Latino (32 percent); 57,407 were white (11 percent) (see May 1, 2009)

December 2009 report

In 2009, 575,304 New Yorkers were stopped by the police. [308,941 were black (54 percent); 179,576 were Latino (31 percent); 53,466 were white (9 percent)] (see May 13, 2010)

December 2010 report

In 2010, 601,0 55 New Yorkers were stopped by the police. [317,642 were black (53 percent); 190,491 were Latino (32 percent); 55,083 were white (9 percent)] [see ACLU site for reports] (see April 26, 2011)

December Peace Love Art Activism
Nuclear/Chemical News & ICAN

In December 2014: more than 600 International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons [ICAN] campaigners gathered in Vienna on the eve of the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons. ICAN told conference participants “a new legal instrument prohibiting nuclear weapons would constitute a long overdue implementation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.” At the conference conclusion, Austria issued historic Humanitarian Pledge to work with all stakeholders “to fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.” (Nuclear, see January 25, 2015; ICAN, see August 6 – 7, 2015)

December Peace Love Art Activism
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Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott

Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott

Irene Morgan

On June 3, 1946 the US Supreme Court had found 6 – 1 in favor of Irene Morgan in Morgan v. Commonwealth of Virginia. The decision stated that segregated seating on interstate buses an “impermissible burden on interstate commerce.”

Southern carriers managed to dodge the Morgan decision, however, by passing segregation rules of their own, and those rules remained outside the purview of state and federal courts because they pertained to private businesses.

Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott

Women’s Political Council

Jo Ann Robinson

Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott

The Women’s Political Council (WPC) of Montgomery, Alabama, was established in 1946 by Mary Fair Burks to inspire African Americans to ‘‘live above mediocrity, to elevate their thinking … and in general to improve their status as a group’ and in 1950, Jo Ann Robinson became WPC president.

As president, she began to study the issue of bus segregation, which affected the many blacks who were the majority of riders on the city system. First, members appeared before the City Commission to report abuses on the buses, such as blacks who were first on the bus being required later to give up seats for whites as buses became crowded. The commission had acted surprised, but did nothing.

In 1953  Robinson and other local black leaders met with Montomery’s three commissioners and complained that the city did not hire any black bus drivers, that segregation of seating was unjust, and that bus stops in black neighborhoods were farther apart than in white ones, although blacks were the majority of the riders.

The commissioners refused to change anything, but Robinson and other WPC members met with bus company officials on their own. The segregation issue was deflected, as bus company officials said that segregation was city and state law, but the WPC achieved a small victory, as the bus company officials agreed to have the buses stop at every corner in black neighborhoods, as was the practice in white neighborhoods. (Robinson bio)

Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott

Baton Rouge

Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott

On June 19, 1953,  Reverend T. J. Jemison of  Baton Rouge, La., led a boycott of the city’s  bus system’s segregated seating policy. They stop riding for eight days, staging what is believed to be the civil rights first bus boycott. Earlier in March,  the City Council had passed Ordinance 222, which permitted blacks to be seated on a first-come-first-served basis, but the drivers, all white, refused to comply.

On June 25, 1953, to end the boycott, the city and blacks agreed to a compromise: the two side front seats of buses were to be reserved for whites and the long rear seat was for African Americans. The remaining seats were to be occupied on a first-come-first-served basis.

Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott

Sarah Keys

Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott

In 1952, Women’s Army Corps Sarah Keys, in uniform, was returning home from Fort Dix, NJ and refused to give up her seat. Her father, a veteran himself, encouraged her to challenge the policy.

On September 1, 1953, in Sarah Keys v. Carolina Coach Company,  Sarah Keys became the first African American to challenge “separate but equal” in bus segregation before the Interstate Commerce Commission. The initial reviewing commissioner declined to hear her case, but  on November 7  the Interstate Commerce Commission in Keys vs. Carolina Coach Company case that racial segregation on interstate buses a violation of the Interstate Commerce Act.

Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott

Rev Martin Luther King, Jr

January 24, 1954 King delivered a trial sermon at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. On April 14,  he will accept the call to Dexter’s pastorate, and on May 2 he delivered first sermon as Dexter’s minister. On October 31, he officially becames pastor of Dexter.

Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott

Claudette Colvin

Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott

On March 2, 1955,  nine months before the Rosa Parks arrest, 15-year-old Claudette Colvin boarded a Montgomery city bus after school to head home. As it filled up, a white woman was left standing, and the bus driver ordered the 15-year-old Colvin to get up and move to the back. She refused, police were called. They dragged Colvin off the bus in handcuffs.

On March 18, 1955, she was convicted of refusing to move to the back of the city bus and having assaulted the policeman who removed her from the vehicle. (see Claudette Colvin for full story) (NYT article)

Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott

Aurelia Browder

Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott

On April 19, 1955 police arrested Aurelia Browder (36 years old)  for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white rider in Montgomery, AL.

Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott

Mary Louise Smith

Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott

On October 21, 1955, police arrested Mary Louise Smith (age 18) for the same reason.

Smith, along with Aurelia Browder, Susie McDonald and Claudette Colvin) will be part of the Browder v. Gayle lawsuit.

Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott

Rosa Parks

Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott

December 1, 1955: police arrested Rosa Parks after she refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a crowded Montgomery city bus. The night of Parks’ arrest, Jo Ann Robinson called the other Women’s Political Council leaders and they agreed that this was the right time for a bus boycott. Robinson stayed up all night copying 35,000 handbills by a mimeograph machine at Alabama State College to distribute the next day. She called students and arranged to meet them at elementary and high schools in the morning. The boycott will last 381-days.

Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott

Friday 2 December 2

Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott

Jo Ann Robinson drove to the various Montgomery schools to drop off the handbills to the students and ask students to take them home for their parents. The handbills asked blacks to boycott the buses the following Monday, December 5, in support of Parks. By Friday night, word of a boycott had spread all over the city. That same night, local ministers and civil rights leaders held a meeting and announced the boycott for Monday. With some ministers hesitant to engage their congregations in a boycott, about half left the meeting in frustration. They decided to hold a mass meeting Monday night to decide if the boycott should continue.

Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott

Monday 5 December 1955

Rosa Parks was convicted and fined for refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a city bus. The Montgomery Bus Boycott, organized by Martin Luther King Jr., began on this day. Most of the 50,000 African Americans living in Montgomery supported the boycott by walking, bicycling and car-pooling. The one-day boycott was so successful that the organizers met on Monday night and decided to continue.

They created the  Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA), It was under the leadership of Ralph Abernathy, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Edgar Nixon. Jo Ann Robinson served on the group’s executive board and edited their newsletter.

Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott

Thursday 8 December 1955

Black taxi drivers charged ten cents per ride, a fare equal to the cost to ride the bus, in support of the boycott. When word of this reached city officials on December 8, the order went out to fine any cab driver who charged a rider less than 45 cents.

Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott

December 17, 1955

Rev Martin Luther King, Jr and other MIA representatives met with white leaders in an unsuccessful attempt to resolve the bus dispute. The boycott, initially launched as a one-day statement of protest, had been going on for nearly two weeks at this point.

Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott

December 30, 1955

Montgomery Mayor W. A. Gayle urged Montgomery citizens to patronize city buses or risk losing the bus company’s business

Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott

January 1956

January 3, 1956: Montgomery City Lines suggested to the city commission that unless fares were doubled, it would have to shut down because it was losing as much as twenty-two cents a mile. The fare increase was approved the following day.

January 12, 1956: in response to the Montgomery’s rejection of its most recent offer to end the boycott, the MIA executive board decidedto boycott the buses indefinitely.

January 24, 1956: Montgomery Mayor Gayle urged whites to stop offering rides to blacks who work for them.

January 26, 1956: two motorcycle policemen stopped Martin Luther King  for traveling 30 mph in a 25 mph zone. He was arrested, fingerprinted, photographed, and jailed.

Ralph Abernathy arrived to bail him out; as a crowd gathered at the jail, prison officials escorted King out of the jail and drove him back to town. According to King, on this day and the previous two more than one hundred traffic citations were issued to car pool drivers. Later that evening, a group of King’s friends decided to organize protection for him. Seven Montgomery Improvement Association mass meetings were held to accommodate black residents interested in hearing the story of King’s arrest. King begins to get threatening phone calls.

January 30, 1956,: speaking at an afternoon meeting held after his arrest on speeding charges and following reports of MIA dissension had appeared in the press, King insisted that MIA leaders should continue the bus boycott. He told the Executive Board members of the Montgomery Improvement Association, “If we went tonight and asked the people to get back on the bus, we would be ostracized….My intimidations are a small price to pay if victory can be won.”

At 9:15 p.m., while King spoke at a mass meeting, his home was bombed. His wife and daughter were not injured. Later King addressed an angry crowd that gathered outside the house, pleading for nonviolence.

Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott

February 1956

Browder v. Gayle begun

February 1, 1956: on behalf of five African American women [Aurelia S. Browder, Claudette Colvin, Mary Louise Smith, Susie McDonald, and Jeanette Reese] who had been mistreated on city buses, Fred D. Gray and Charles D. Langford filed a Federal District Court petition that becomes Browder v. Gayle. The Gayle named was the Mayor. The suit challenged the legality of separate seating on Montgomery’s municipal buses.

Jeanetta Reese

February 2, 1956: Jeanetta Reese withdrew from the suit filed by Gray and Langford, explaining that she and her husband had been threatened with economic retaliation and violence.

White reaction

February 10, 1956: eleven thousand people attending a Citizens’ Council rally in Montgomery cheered Mayor Gayle and Police Commissioner Sellers for their support of segregation on Montgomery buses.

February 13, 1956: Judge Eugene Carter directed the Montgomery county grand jury to determine whether the boycott of Montgomery buses violated Alabama’s anti-boycott law.

February 18, 1956: Fred D. Gray was charged by the Montgomery Grand Jury with “unlawful appearance as an attorney” for representing Jeanetta Reese after she had withdrawn from the suit.

February 21, 1956: a Montgomery grand jury indicted 89 leaders of the boycott, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rev. Ralph Abernathy, for violating a 1921 state statute forbidding boycotts without “just cause.”

Grand jurors repudiated anti-segregation efforts in the grand jury report that accompanied the indictment. “In this state we are committed to segregation by custom and law; we intend to maintain it,” the grand jury wrote. “The settlement of differences over school attendance, public transportation and other facilities must be made within those laws which reflect our way of life.”

As the indicted boycott leaders surrendered themselves into custody at the police station, hundreds of African American supporters gathered outside in a show of support for their efforts to challenge racial discrimination and fight segregation in Alabama.

Of those indicted, only Dr. King was prosecuted. Despite defense evidence showing that the boycott was peaceful and that discriminatory bus service inflicted harm on the African American community, Dr. King was quickly convicted, fined $1000, and given a suspended jail sentence of one year at hard labor. The indictment and Dr. King’s conviction strengthened local African Americans’ resolve to fight segregation and attracted national attention to the growing civil rights movement.

Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott

108 days after boycott began…

March 22, 1956: King was found guilty of violating the boycott statute in Montgomery, Ala. and fined $500. When he decided to appeal, the judge added 386 days of imprisonment.

Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott

Browder v. Gayle continues

March 27, 1956: the Alabama Attorney General filed a motion urging dismissal of the Browder v. Gayle federal suit.

June 5, 1956: a three-judge panel of the US District Court for the Middle District of Alabama ruled 2-1 in Browder v Gayle that bus segregation was unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment protections for equal treatment. The court further enjoined the state of Alabama and city of Montgomery from continuing to operate segregated buses.

Supreme Court’s final non-decision

Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott
Alabama Journal November 13, 1956

November 13, 1956: the US Supreme Court declined the appeal of a US District Court ruling in Browder v. Gayle that had declared unconstitutional Alabama’s state and local laws requiring segregation on buses, thereby ending the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The Court affirmed the ruling by the three-judge Federal court that had held the challenged statutes “violated the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.”

December 19, 1956: federal marshals handed Montgomery Mayor Gayle official written notice that  the Montgomery buses be desegregated.

Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott

Aftermath

Snipers

December 28, 1956: the black community returned to the Montgomery buses but faced the threat of violence from some whites who resented the boycott and its results.

In a terrifying development, snipers began to target the buses soon after integrated riding commenced. On the evening of December 28, 1956, shots were fired into a desegregated bus traveling through an African American neighborhood. Rosa Jordan, a 22-year-old black woman who was eight months pregnant, was shot in both legs while sitting in the rear of the bus. She was transported to Oak Street General Hospital, but doctors were hesitant to remove a bullet lodged in her leg, fearing it could cause Jordan to give birth prematurely. She was told she would have to remain in the hospital for the duration of her pregnancy. After the bus driver and passengers were questioned at police headquarters, the bus resumed service. Less than an hour later, in approximately the same neighborhood, the bus was again targeted by snipers but no one was hit.

These shootings followed two earlier sniper attacks on Montgomery buses that occurred the week before but targeted buses carrying no passengers and resulted in no injuries. On the night of Jordan’s shooting, Montgomery Police Commissioner Clyde Sellers ordered all buses to end service for the night. The following day, three city commissioners met with a bus company official and decided to suspend all night bus service after 5:00 p.m. until after the New Year’s holiday. The curfew policy did not end until January 22, 1957.

Southern Christian Leadership Conference

Southern Christian Leadership Conference

January 10, 1957: following the Montgomery Bus Boycott victory and consultations with Bayard Rustin, Ella Baker, and others, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. invited about 60 black ministers and leaders to Ebenezer Church in Atlanta. Their goal was to form an organization to coordinate and support nonviolent direct action as a method of desegregating bus systems across the South. In addition to Rustin and Baker, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth of Birmingham, Rev Joseph Lowery of Mobile, Rev Ralph Abernathy of Montgomery, Rev C.K. Steele of Tallahassee, all played key roles in this meeting.

Bombings

That same day, four black churches and two pastors’ homes were bombed. All four black churches bombed – Bell Street Baptist Church, Hutchinson Street Baptist Church, First Street Baptist Church, and Mt. Olive Church – had supported the bus boycott and the targeted pastors were civil rights leaders: Reverend Ralph D. Abernathy of First Street Baptist Church who was a prominent boycott leader and proponent of desegregation and Reverend Robert Graetz, white minister of the predominantly black Trinity Lutheran Church, had actively supported the bus boycott.

January 12, 1957: Reverend Abernathy announced plans for Sunday service, telling a reporter that “despite the wreckage and broken windows we will gather as usual at our church” and offer special prayers for “those who would desecrate the house of God.”

January 13, 1957: congregations held Sunday services amidst the bombed debris.

Two white men affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan, Raymond Britt and Sonny Livingston, were indicted in February 1957 after confessing to the bombings. An all-white jury acquitted them of all charges in May 1957, while spectators cheered.

Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott
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