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Hypothetical Southern White Reaction to the Distribution of the Montgommery Bus Boycott Leaflet

This source was published just after, and is referring to, the arrest of Rosa May Parks on December 1st, 1955. Parks was arrested for refusing to move from her bus seat for a white passenger when asked to by the racist bus driver, James Blake. The two had met before in 1943 when Parks had boarded Blake?s bus from the front door, which was for whites only. Blake told Parks to exit the bus and re-enter from the rear door where she was supposed to but as Parks got off of the bus, Blake drove off leaving her to walk home. This defiance by Parks had created a major turning point in civil rights by sparking the start of the civil rights movement.

This source shows us what life was like for the black community, specifically black women, in the southern states of America. The source is a picture of a leaflet distributed in 1955 by the ?Women?s political council,? an anti-segregation group, calling for a boycott on the buses in Montgomery, Alabama. The involvement of women in politics only angered the white segregationists further. The boycott, which was originally intended to last only a single day, lasted for a total 381 days and it only ended when the American Supreme Court ruled that segregation on the buses was unconstitutional. This would have had a rather large impact on the business economy within Montgomery and possibly even Alabama. Montgomery subsequently changed its laws so that buses were integrated. Even though the supreme court ruled that segregation on the buses was unconstitutional it did not overturn all of the segregation laws.

The leaflet repeats the phrase ?Don?t ride the buses to work, to town, to school of anywhere on Monday? to drive home the point to the reader that a major boycott was about to start. During...

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... the Ku Klux Klan the people living in that area had taken on board the message of acting as a community and instead of hiding away in their houses from the convoy, which was what the Ku Klux Klan expected, many blacks came out into the streets and waved at the cars as they passed by.

Most southern whites were ?pro segregation? and would have been outraged by the distribution of this leaflet. The fact it was distributed by women only added to the hate that the whites felt. To most of the southern ?pro segregation? whites, blacks were just slaves and subordinates. This level of solidarity and unity within the black community would have shocked all of the southern segregationists. I believe the whites also felt scared as the black community was beginning to have some power and influence over the economy, and I think that made most white segregationists feel insecure.

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