The Women Behind the Montgomery Bus Boycott : Code Switch We've all heard about Rosa Parks and her crucial role in the Montgomery bus boycott. But Parks was just one of the many women who organized for years to make that boycott a reality. In this episode, the women behind the boycott tell their own story.

The Women Behind the Montgomery Bus Boycott

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KAREN GRIGSBY BATES, HOST:

You're listening to CODE SWITCH. I'm Karen Grigsby Bates. Today, we're bringing you the story behind the Montgomery bus boycott that lasted from December of 1955 until December of 1956. What people often remember of that moment in history is that when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, it sparked a bus boycott that was led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But what that retelling leaves out are all the women who organized for years to make that boycott a reality and who helped sustain the boycott for 13 long months.

In today's episode, we're going to do something special. To celebrate these women during this Women's History Month, we wanted you to hear them tell their story in their own words and their own voices. Independent producer Barrett Golding compiled and stitched together an audio quilt of their recordings. You'll hear some women you might recognize, like Rosa Parks, Coretta Scott King and Claudette Colvin, and the voices of a lot of other women who aren't usually in the spotlight. We begin in Montgomery, Ala., in the early 1950s.

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CORETTA SCOTT KING: Montgomery was the cradle of the Confederacy, really. And no one ever expected any progress to be made in terms of race relations.

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CLAUDETTE COLVIN: Everything was segregated. Everything, there was a sign. A sign said white above the water fountain. It's the same water fountain, but different. And I went over to the fountain as a kid 'cause I had to see what white water looked like. I wanted to see (laughter) what - I wanted to see what white water looked like. And I learned that word, white folks, at a very early age. This is for colored folks, and this is for white folks.

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ROSA PARKS: Well, we couldn't go into cafes. If we wanted to eat anything, you had to order from the front. Then you'd have to go around to the back, and they'd hand it to you out the back door like it was a dog. The restrooms - you couldn't go in the white people's restroom. You just had to hold whatever you had until you got to another place that you could go to the restroom.

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SCOTT KING: There had been several incidents where Blacks attempting to ride the buses - where they had been beaten and dragged off, arrested and so on.

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GRIGSBY BATES: Back then, transportation apartheid was the rule. Black riders had to pay at the front of the bus. But instead of walking on and finding a seat, they had to get off and walk around and enter through the rear door.

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PARKS: The signs was always up there - white only. And if you sit down on the bus, the bus driver will say, let me have that seat, [expletive], and you'd had to get up. And a lot of times, he'd take our money at the front, and then he'd drive off and leave us standing there without - he done took our money and gone.

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CARRIE FOLGATE: Whether you had another bus fare or not, you were just stranded. The bus driver told me to get up and get in the back. I didn't say nothing when he first said it. And he said, I say get up and get in the back. I say, I ain't going nowhere. I get the police when I get around the corner, make him put you off. I say, you do this, that (ph). And he said, don't say no more to me. I'll come back there and put you off myself. I say, hobo your way back here, and I'll pay you back. He didn't get up. He didn't say a word else to me then.

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JO ANN ROBINSON: But then that was the case of a Mr. Brooks, who had had a drink too many and got on the bus. And the bus driver said something to it, and he was brave enough to say it back. The bus driver called the police, and they killed that man right there on that bus.

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PARKS: In many cases, did come to my attention that nothing came of it 'cause the persons who were abused would be too intimidated to sign an affidavit or to make a statement.

GRIGSBY BATES: That's Rosa Parks. She had been an activist for more than 20 years before she refused to give up her seat on the bus, but she wasn't the first person to take a stand. Nine months before Parks, Claudette Colvin was on the bus on her way home from school.

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COLVIN: When I was 15 years old, I was arrested for violating the segregation law in Montgomery, Ala. This is March 2, 1955. It was a normal day. We boarded a bus. We sit where we was allowed to sit, in the colored area. As the bus proceeded on downtown, it became full capacity, and more white people got on the bus. And it was this white lady who was near me. But she wouldn't sit opposite me because in the South, Jim Crow law, a white person could not sit across the aisle from a colored person. They had to sit in front of you to show that they was superior and we was inferior. So the bus driver yelled to the back, give me them seats. But I remain seated.

Since I had been studying in history the injustices, segregation and talk about our heroes, it felt like Harriet Tubman hands were pushing me down on one shoulder. And Sojourner Truth hands were pushing me down on the other one. The history had me glued to the seat. I could not move. I was paralyzed. I can hear it, hear those white people complaining to you - talk and talk and talk and talk and talk. And I know this - one of the white girls was yelling, oh, you got to stand up because that's the law. And one yelled back, she doesn't have to do anything but stay Black and die. The bus proceeded on, and that's when the two squad car policemen come on the bus. And they asked me, Gal, why are you sitting there? And I said, I paid my fare, and it's my constitutional rights. I was standing up like Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth.

They dragged me off the bus because I refused to walk off voluntarily. And then they handcuffed me. They took me to the city hall, and then they booked me. And then they took me to an adult jail.

GRIGSBY BATES: Remember, Claudette is being taken to adult jail as a 15-year-old Black girl. Most everyone in Black Montgomery had heard stories of white people - sometimes cops, sometimes private citizens - using violence on one Black person to intimidate the entire community. Age was no deterrent. Just a year before, one state over, in Mississippi, Emmett Till had been pulled from his bed, mutilated and murdered based on a rumor he'd insulted a white woman. He was just 14 years old.

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COLVIN: So that's when the fear came over me. So I began to - reciting in the Lord's Prayer, saying the 23rd Psalm. My parents and Reverend H.H. Johnson, my pastor, came and bailed me out. And I could hear Reverend Johnson - said, Claudette, I think you done brought the revolution in here (laughter) and to my boss. And my dad said, Claudette, you know, you put us in a lot of danger. That night, he loaded his shotgun - fully loaded all night. He said, they're not going to take you. They wasn't taking me out without a battle, or Daddy was going to shoot.

GRIGSBY BATES: Mr. Colvin, like a lot of Black Southerners, kept a gun in the house for self-defense. Thankfully, he didn't need to use it that night. Eventually, a juvenile court would find Claudette guilty on three counts - disturbing the peace, violating the segregated seating law and assaulting a police officer. After her arrest, Claudette was asked to join the NAACP youth group by the woman who had recently reinstated it, Mrs. Rosa Parks.

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PARKS: And I happened to be secretary of the Montgomery branch of the NAACP, as well as the Youth Council adviser.

GRIGSBY BATES: It was 1955, and that year, Black civic organizations had been looking for a person to challenge the city's transportation apartheid laws. With Claudette, they had a face, but they also had a problem. They needed someone above reproach, and colorism was still very much in play. By her own assessment, Claudette was a low-income, dark-skinned teenager who got pregnant not long after her arrest. That status eliminated her as a choice. But the Black civic powers that be found their symbol when Rosa Parks, a lighter-skinned, educated woman, followed in Claudette footsteps.

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PARKS: The time I was on the bus and refused to stand up, it was principally because I felt that my rights as a human being was being violated and that giving in and obeying the officer or the driver was not helping to make conditions better for me or any of the rest of us.

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SCOTT KING: The Montgomery movement started really when Rosa Parks sat down on that bus December 1, 1955.

GRIGSBY BATES: Mrs. Parks was arrested on a Thursday. By Sunday the 4, the Women's Political Council drew up plans for a one-day boycott the next day and held their breath to see if anyone would cooperate.

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ROBINSON: The Women's Political Council was an organization that had begun in 1946 after just dozens of Black people had been arrested on the buses for segregation purposes. And we knew that if something hadn't been done by the women, there wouldn't be anything done.

GRIGSBY BATES: Professor Jo Ann Robinson recalls the flurry of getting thousands of boycott notices ready to hand out around town.

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ROBINSON: I didn't go to bed that night. I cut those stencils. I ran off 35,000 copies. And I, as president of the Women's Political Council, got on the phone, and I called every person who was in every place where we had planned that I would be there with materials for them to disseminate.

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SCOTT KING: The plans call for a one-day boycott of the buses on December the 5. They sent out leaflets all over town, and they talked to the ministers to go to their congregations on Sunday and encourage them to stay off the buses for one day.

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FRANCES BELSER: Stay off the bus. Stay off the bus. Stay off the bus Monday morning.

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ROBINSON: It was a day of the boycott. We had been up waiting for the first buses to pass to see if any riders were on the buses. It was a cold morning, cloudy. There was a threat of rain, and we were afraid that if it rained, the people would get on the bus. But as the buses began to roll, then we began to realize that the people were going to stay off the bus that first day.

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BELSER: That morning, when they asked us to stay off the bus, I was late for work 'cause I was trying to see how many buses was empty, and they were totally empty. And I think this was an incentive for so many people to be at that first mass meeting because those buses drove without anybody on them.

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ROBINSON: You see, the Women's Council planned it only for Monday, and it was left up to the men to take over after we had forced them, really. Well, they had agreed that they would call this meeting at Holt Street Church, and they would let the audience determine whether or not they would continue the bus boycott or end it in one day.

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GEORGIA GILMORE: Well, the mass meeting was - the announcement, well, it was broadcast over the Negro radio station. And they wanted all the people who were interested in being at the meeting to come to the Holt Street Baptist Church on Monday night at 7 o'clock. And that's what really happened.

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BELSER: And pretty soon, they just started coming in from every direction. There was - we - all the chairs that we had in the church like this, we were setting them up everywhere. The balcony was full.

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ROBINSON: The church itself holds four, five thousand people, but there were thousands of people outside of the church that night. And they had to put loudspeakers so they would know what was happening.

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FOLGATE: Oh, it was as many on the outside as there was in the church. When they raised their offering that night, people on the outside just said, take my money. I wants to pay. I wants to be a part of this. And it looked like, to me, they were just waiting for something good to happen and - which it did.

GRIGSBY BATES: At this meeting, an organization quickly came together that same day - the Montgomery Improvement Association. To lead it, someone needed to step up, and everyone knew that that person would probably become a target. A skinny, young pastor had just been assigned to a neighboring Baptist church, Dexter Avenue. Here's Coretta Scott King to tell us what happened.

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SCOTT KING: Martin said, well, you know, I'm not sure I'm the best person since I'm new in the community. But if no one else is going to serve, I'd be glad to try to do it. So he came home very excited about the fact that he had to give the keynote speech that night at mass meeting. He only had 20 minutes to prepare his speech. Fortunately, I got someone to tape it. So we have a copy of the speech.

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MARTIN LUTHER KING JR: We are here this evening for serious business. (Inaudible) there comes a time when people get tired of being trampled over by the iron feet of oppression.

GRIGSBY BATES: This tape is almost 70 years old. So if you didn't hear, Dr. King said, there comes a time when people get tired of being trampled over by the iron feet of oppression.

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IDESSA WILLIAMS REDDEN: Well, when Dr. King starts speaking, I hadn't ever heard of him. I kept asking around. Who is he? Who is he? So somebody answered and said, that's Dexter's new minister. And before I knew it - I'd never got emotional in church before in my life - I had screamed out, Lord, you have sent us a leader.

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KING: We are here also because of our love for democracy.

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SCOTT KING: It was to be a nonviolent movement. And he called for Christian love. He said, I got my motivation from Jesus and my techniques from Gandhi.

GRIGSBY BATES: After that first speech at Holt Street Church, less than a week after Mrs. Parks' arrest, the people voted on whether the bus boycott would continue.

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ROBINSON: Overwhelmingly - I don't know if there was one vote that said no, don't continue - the people wanted to continue that boycott, and they voted for it unanimously. And that meant thousands of people.

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DONIE JONES: It was like a revival starting. That's what it was like. And then we went to walking.

GRIGSBY BATES: The one-day protest had morphed into a community's decision not only to talk the talk about ending transportation apartheid but to, quite literally, walk the walk that would eventually accomplish that goal.

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GWENDOLYN PATTON: Three hundred and eighty-one days, we walked.

GRIGSBY BATES: That's after the break. Stay with us.

Karen, just Karen - CODE SWITCH.

Ten empty seats - more than half of the bus was reserved for only one race, whether white people were there on the bus or not, even though roughly three-quarters of riders were Black. In Montgomery, 10 became what Jo Ann Robinson called a damnable number. In her memoir "The Montgomery Bus Boycott And The Women Who Started It," she wrote that whether the number 10 referred to the 10 reserved seats on the bus or the number of a theater ticket or a tag number, it signified bad luck. Nobody wanted that number. And so those 10 seats were available, but so were all the rest because the Black community stayed off the bus.

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PATTON: It was a Montgomery Improvement Association that spearheaded and directed and kept together the 381 days we walked.

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UNIDENTIFIED ACTIVIST #1: Well, sometime, I walk by myself, and sometimes I walked with different people. I began to enjoy walking. A lot of times, some of the young whites would come along. And they would say, [expletive], don't you know it's better to ride the bus than it is to walk? And we would say, no, cracker, no. We'd rather walk (laughter).

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JAMILA JONES: I was 11 years old when the boycott started. Youth had their own kind of individual movement. We organized ourselves to get across town. My sister, being the leader that she was, wouldn't allow us ever to go and get a ride. She said we'd be taking up space from an adult. And we formed this group.

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J JONES: (Singing) Oh, freedom.

GRIGSBY BATES: That's Jamila Jones. She formed a gospel trio with her sister and another friend.

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J JONES: Somehow, it was something in us that made us want to do freedom songs. So when the Montgomery Bus Boycott came, we were asked to come to sing at practically every tea. That raised money for the movement. So we went all over town to teas on Sunday. And we were kind of carrying the message of the movement through our songs.

GRIGSBY BATES: Like a lot of leaders in the civil rights movement, Jamila and her sister went to train at a place called the Highlander Folk School. It was a remote retreat in the Tennessee mountains where people were learning to be activists and organizers. And because of that, Highlander was under constant attack. Politicians denounced the school from the floors of state legislatures. Its students were called communists. And all-purpose racists were livid that Highlander taught Black and white people together under the same roof.

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J JONES: You have to remember that I was at Highlander when I was probably 14 years old. And one of the things that Reverend Seay (ph), who drove us there, said to us is that we're going to leave by night so we would not be noticed.

GRIGSBY BATES: While she was there, Jamila recalled a night when the police raided Highlander and shut off all the lights. The incident led to her adding a new verse to "We Shall Overcome."

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J JONES: So we were in complete darkness that night. We could not see each other. I didn't know where my sister was. And all we could see, basically, is the billy club waving and the butts of their guns, you could see it shining. And something said, (singing) we are not afraid.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WE SHALL OVERCOME")

THE MONTGOMERY GOSPEL TRIO, THE NASHVILLE QUARTET AND GUY CARAWAN: (Singing) We are not afraid. We are not afraid.

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J JONES: And everybody started singing, (laughter) we are not. And you could hear people come in. My sister, who is not a singer, I knew she was safe because I heard her little out-of-tune voice coming in. And I could hear Minnie's (ph) bass come in about we are not afraid. And we got louder and louder with singing that verse until one of the policemen came and he said to me, if you have to sing - and he was actually shaking. Do you have to sing so loud? And I could not believe it. Here, these people had all the guns, the billy clubs, the power. And he was asking me if I would not sing so loud. And it was that time that I really understood the power of our music. And I can just tell you that I got louder and louder. And somehow, everywhere was dark. But it looked like our voices blended that night to the point of complete harmony and beauty.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WE SHALL OVERCOME")

THE MONTGOMERY GOSPEL TRIO, THE NASHVILLE QUARTET AND GUY CARAWAN: (Singing) We shall overcome, someday.

GRIGSBY BATES: Before Jamila Jones' time at the Highlander Folk School, Rosa Parks trained there. Parks' time at Highlander informed her work going forward with the NAACP and her decision to be the next in a long line of Montgomery residents who refused to give up their seats. The 1955 boycott came not as a response to the act of one woman, but to the resistance of so many women. It was a collective breaking point.

(SOUNDBITE OF MONTAGE)

ROBINSON: Well, many people lost their jobs during that 13-month period. The Montgomery Improvement Association would take up collection for those persons who didn't have jobs to help them to get along.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTIVIST #2: Yeah, we held a meeting every week. We had a radio announcer. Well, he was saying, it's going to be a meeting at such and such a church tonight. Everybody knew what he was talking about. And they would be there.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTIVIST #3: When Dr. King spoke to us one night at Bethel Baptist Church, he prayed and said, Lord, don't let no one die for this movement. Let me die. And when he said that, people were screaming and hollering and fainting for the thought of him to say, let me die.

GRIGSBY BATES: Not even two months into the boycott, Dr. King's house was bombed.

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GUSSIE NESBITT: And I remember the night when they bombed pastor King's house. His wife was in there with a small baby. He wasn't there. He was in a meeting. And when they got there, all the colored people had had their weapons and their gun, and everything was ready. But King come out - he went and then he said, my wife and baby's all right. And he held up his hand and he said, put down your weapon. He said, this is nonviolent.

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WILLIE MAE LEE CREWS: People called and some said, we're sorry. And others said, you brought it on yourself. And then others called and said, we missed this time, but we'll get you the next time. It was ugly what some people did.

GRIGSBY BATES: Jo Ann Robinson, who was one of the key organizers of the boycott, was also targeted.

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ROBINSON: The police broke out my picture window. The man next door trailed them downtown. And Mr. Sellers, who was the police commissioner, asked that man if he wanted to live. And when the man said yes, he wanted to live, he said, well, you go home and shut your mouth. About two weeks after they had broken my picture window, I heard a noise on the side where my car was, and I went and looked out the window in the dark, and there were two policemen scattering something on the top of my car. The next morning, my car was eaten up with acid. I had holes as large as a dollar. It was frightening.

I will say that after that, the governor, Mr. Folsom, then put a state highway patrolman on my house, just as he had Dr. King, Reverend Abernathy, Mr. Nixon. And that patrol guarded my house until the boycott was over. When the bus drivers were out of work, they were employed as policemen. Many of those policemen would give just hundreds and hundreds of tickets every day to people who were not violating any traffic laws.

GRIGSBY BATES: Every day during the boycott, hundreds of private cars would go to dozens of designated pickup spots to give rides to boycotters. At its height, the movement was giving over 10,000 rides a day.

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ZECOZY WILLIAMS: I would pick up people. I would leave home at 7 o'clock in the morning, and I would pick up and let off, pick up and let off, and I would haul people around.

GRIGSBY BATES: Women formed clubs. They raised money for boycott-related needs, supplies for meeting notices, gas money for carpool drivers and funds for paying bail and traffic tickets.

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GILMORE: Well, in order to make the mass meeting and the boycott be a success and keep the carpool running, we decided that the people on the south side would get a club and the people on the west side would get a club. And we just said it was the Club from Nowhere.

GRIGSBY BATES: Georgia Gilmore, she didn't have a lot of money, but she was a great cook. People gladly supported the club because it was helping the boycott continue. And the food was amazing.

(SOUNDBITE OF MONTAGE)

WILLIAMS: And we would have volunteers. Georgia Gilmore would barbecue for us, and we would sell the barbecue.

GILMORE: And so the Club from Nowhere was able to report maybe $125 or maybe $200 or more a week.

WILLIAMS REDDEN: Money flowed into Montgomery, Ala., from everywhere. I remember Mahalia Jackson. She came to Montgomery and I can recall her saying that she said, when I was told that the people wanted me in Montgomery, Ala., they wanted to know what I charge to come down to sing to them. She said, I told my manager I couldn't charge them. They were offering folks nothing because they walking for freedom and freedom for me.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I'M ON MY WAY TO CANAAN")

MAHALIA JACKSON: (Singing) I'm on my way to Canaan land.

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SCOTT KING: The news spread fast. You know, 50,000 people - this had never happened anywhere where 50,000 Black people stood up in solidarity. And it was working. So that was quite a phenomenon, and it attracted attention as far away as South Africa. So there were all these movements springing up right after Montgomery during the year '56, and people from the north were so excited, and they were coming - I mean, people were coming from all over.

GRIGSBY BATES: While the boycott was still in full force, African Americans in Montgomery filed suit in federal court to directly challenge segregated buses. When the NAACP was looking for plaintiffs to bring the case, they asked some of the ministers who were seen as leaders of the boycott. But the ministers weren't prepared to be in the public eye in that way and withstand what comes with that. Ultimately, all of the plaintiffs chosen were women, and none of them was Rosa Parks. The lawyers that brought the case omitted her for strategic reasons. But one of the plaintiffs was Claudette Colvin, the teenager who had initially been passed over as the face of the boycott.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

COLVIN: It was the four women - Mary Louise Smith-Ware, me, Claudette Colvin, Mrs. Susan McDonald and Aurelia Browder. We were the four women plaintiffs that took the case to the Supreme Court. And finally, it was declared that segregated seating on Montgomery buses was unconstitutional.

GRIGSBY BATES: The Supreme Court's decision in that case, known as Browder v. Gayle, ended racial segregation on public transportation in the state of Alabama.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ROBINSON: So Supreme Court had to come in. You get 52,000 people in the streets and nobody is showing any fear, something had to give.

GRIGSBY BATES: When one of the lawyers asked Colvin who the boycott's leader was, she answered, do we have a leader? Our leaders is just we ourself. After that Supreme Court decision, Black riders voted to end the Montgomery bus boycott.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BELSER: The next morning, those buses was rolling. Dr. King and all of them - they went downtown. They rode the bus. They put the most segregated-minded bus drivers in the predominantly Black areas. And they had to take it. And the one that harassed me so much, I sat so close to him on the bus that I was leaning over. If he'd have leaned back this way, he probably would have touched me (laughter).

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

VIRGINIA DURR: Do you realize that from 1876 until 1932 when Roosevelt came into power, not one Congress, not one Senate, not one Supreme Court, not one state - nobody raised their hand about the treatment of the Blacks in the South. The rest of the country just sat there for that 100 years and never did a thing. It would never have changed unless the federal government had stepped in and told them, well, either you do this or you go to jail. And that was the simple answer they had. It wasn't a question of debate. If the courts hadn't stepped in, I think we'd still be struggling.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

GILMORE: We had accomplished something that no one ever thought would ever happen in the city of Montgomery.

GRIGSBY BATES: People had different opinions about what that victory meant. Coretta Scott King recalls her husband's advice to the understandably jubilant Black Montgomerians.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

SCOTT KING: When you have a victory or when you achieve the goal that you've set, you take it humbly. He said, when we go back to the buses, we're not going to go back bragging about the fact that, you know, we won, but that we go back and we try to win friends with those people because part of the process of nonviolence is to achieve a reconciliation when the struggle has been won.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PATTON: I was never for integration for the sake of integration. You know, I didn't think I learned any better sitting next to a white child. I didn't define myself in juxtaposition to white people. And that was reinforced with my grandmother, which goes all the way back to '56 on the bus after the boycott. And she always sat in the back. I said, we walked all these days - you walked. My mom and daddy sent money and shoes and do da do do (ph) and you still sit in the back. I thought she was capitulating. I knew she was in the movement. I knew she thought voting was important, but I still thought maybe you are afraid of white folk. And she said, Gwendolyn, the bus boycott was not about sitting next to white people, it was about sitting anywhere you please. And I am pleased to sit here.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GRIGSBY BATES: And that's our show. In this episode, we heard from Jamila Jones, Claudette Colvin, Gussie Nesbitt, Willie Mae Lee Crews, Georgia Gilmore, Carrie Folgate, Idessa Williams Redden, Frances Belser, Donie Jones, Virginia Foster Durr, Coretta Scott King, Jo Anne Robinson, Rosa Parks, Zecozy Williams and Gwendolyn Patton. You can read more about all of these women and see some of their photos on our show page.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GRIGSBY BATES: We're grateful to the following institutions for permission to use their stories - The Civil Rights History Project, a joint documentation initiative of the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture; the Southern Oral History Program's archive, based at the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina; the Alabama State University Archives, Levi Watkins Learning Center, the Henry Hampton Collection, Washington University Libraries. The Coretta Scott King audio license was granted by CSK Legacy LLC, Atlanta, Ga., as exclusive licensor of the Coretta Scott King estate - and our friends at Radio Diaries.

These stories were researched and produced by Barrett Golding. Original music was composed by Wendel Patrick. On the CODE SWITCH team, Jess Kung and Diba Mohtasham produced this episode with help from Walter Ray Watson. Our intern is Olivia Chilkoti. It was edited by Courtney Stein and engineered by Gilly Moon. And we would be remiss if we didn't shout-out the rest of the CODE SWITCH team - Lori Lizarraga, B.A. Parker, Gene Demby, Dalia Mortada, Veralyn Williams, Christina Cala, Kumari Devarajan, Alyssa Jeong Perry, James Sneed and Steve Drummond. Our art director is LA Johnson.

You can follow us on Instagram @nprcodeswitch. If email is more your thing, ours is codeswitch@npr.org. And subscribe to the podcast on NPR One or wherever you get your podcasts. Also, before we go, we want to give a quick shout-out to our CODE SWITCH+ listeners. We appreciate you, and thanks for being a subscriber. Subscribing to CODE SWITCH+ means getting to listen to all of our episodes without any sponsor breaks, and it also helps support our show. So if you love our work, please consider signing up at plus.npr.org/codeswitch. I'm Karen Grigsby Bates. See you.

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