Boycott planned & publicized here at ASU's Councill Hall
On Dec. 1, 1955, at Alabama State College (now Alabama State University) in a basement room in Councill Hall, the Montgomery Bus Boycott was planned and publicized after the arrest that day of Rosa Parks, who refused to give up her seat to a white person on a segregated city bus.
Following Parks' arrest, Alabama State College took action. Jo Ann Robinson, a faculty member, authored the text of a flyer calling for blacks to boycott segregated city buses and, joined by others, responded to Parks' arrest by mimeographing thousand of flyers here calling for a one-day boycott of the buses to start the following Monday, Dec. 5. Assisted by members of the Women's Political Council (WPC), they distributed them throughout the city's black community in hopes of ending segregation on city buses.
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Robinson was perhaps the person most instrumental in planning and publicizing the 1955 Boycott, proposing the idea to the WPC more than a year before it was implemented. She was assisted by WPC members who included Thelma Glass, Irene West, Mary Fair Burks & others; and advised by activist E.D. Nixon & attorney Fred Gray (ASU alumnus '51) who was also eager to challenge the segregated bus law. Because of the spark that was lit here, news of the planned protest received widespread publicity & on Dec. 5, the Boycott was successful with over 90% of the city's black citizens staying off the buses. The city's black leaders extended the Boycott into a long-term campaign that lasted from Dec. 5, 1955 to Dec. 20, 1956, with widespread black support. It was successful when the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed Browder v. Gayle,
which struck down the laws regarding segregated seating on public buses. This was the seminal birth of the modern American Civil Rights Movement.