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Three Important Historical Moments in African American History

rosa parks sitting on bus
Written by Tinaya Sallie

THE MONTGOMERY BUS BOYCOTT

Perhaps the most celebrated event in the history of the struggle for civil rights in the United State till date, the Montgomery Bus boycott is still a very powerful symbol of courage and resilience.

The campaign which lasted from December 1, 1955 to December 20, 1956, began when Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white person. Her arrest kicked off a nationwide boycott and the pressure it mounted quickly gained ground.  With influential black leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King and Ralph Abernathy throwing their weight behind it, the supreme court was forced to declare the laws in Alabama and Montgomery that enforced segregation on buses unconstitutional on December 20, 1956 after which the boycott was ended.

This set the precedence for a lot of civil right movements later in the history of the fight for equality and justice for black Americans in the United States.

THE MURDER OF EMMETT TILL

Till was brutally murdered in August of 1955 at the age of 14 for allegedly passing inappropriate comments about the wife of a shop owner in Mississippi. He was brutally beaten, shot, murdered and dumped in a river. Though his killers went unpunished, his death set off a chain reaction of events that later resulted in a lot of victories for black people in their fight for justice.

His mother insisted on an open casket funeral, so the whole world could see his mutilated corpse and this touched the hearts of people worldwide

The suspects, Roy Bryant and J.W Milam were acquitted after a brief trial, but the fire had been ignited in the hearts of people and all over the country, black people stood up in protest.

Barely four months after the trail, Rosa Park made her defiant stand that sparked the bus boycotts and other civil rights movements that followed.

MLK portrait photo

Portrait of MLK

SELMA TO MONTGOMERY MARCHES

Led by the famous Dr. Martin Luther King, the Selma marches, 3 in total, were organized to help petition for voting rights for black people in the United states. It started off as a peaceful walk, but violence soon took over after state troopers shot and killed Jimmie Lee Jackson and chased down unarmed protesters as they made their way across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

After that famous “bloody Sunday” president Johnson was forced to send hundreds of state troopers and FBI agents to protect the crowd after the outcry that followed in its wake.

selma marchess photo

selma to montgomery marches

After marching for 5 days and covering a distance of 54 miles, they made it to the capitol in Montgomery. They attempted to present their petition to the governor, but were refused. The message had already been sent by then and on 6th August 1965, president Johnson signed the Voting Rights act.

Sources:

http://kingencyclopedia.stanford.edu/encyclopedia/encyclopedia/enc_selma_to_montgomery_march/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selma_to_Montgomery_marches

http://www.blackpast.org/aah/montgomery-bus-boycott-1955-56

https://www.google.com.gh/?gfe_rd=cr&ei=FKWrVpv8H-Sr8we6k4KwAg#safe=off&q=Montgomery+Bus+Boycott

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/till/timeline/timeline2.html

http://racerelations.about.com/od/historyofracerelations/tp/Shocking-Moments-In-20th-Century-Black-History.htm

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Tinaya Sallie

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