Biography of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Joining the Struggle
Soon Dr. King was
at the center of Montgomery's civil rights struggle. He worked
with organizations such as the Women's Political Council and
the National Association
for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). On
December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks, the secretary for the Montgomery
NAACP, was arrested for refusing to move to the back of a
city bus. In response, the Women's Political Council of Montgomery
called on African Americans to boycott, or stop using, the
city buses. On December 5, the head of the Women's Political
Council and other African American leaders formed the Montgomery
Improvement Association (MIA) to organize the boycott.
They elected Martin Luther King, Jr., their president. Montgomery's
mayor refused to speak with Dr. King unless the MIA stopped
the boycott. The MIA defied the mayor and decided to continue
the boycott indefinitely.
Before the boycott ended, someone
bombed Dr. King's house, the city of Montgomery tried and
convicted him on boycott-related charges, and the Alabama
state government outlawed the NAACP. These events only made
the rest of the nation sympathetic to Dr. King's cause. On
November 13, 1956, the United States Supreme Court declared
Montgomery's bus segregation laws unconstitutional. The next
day, MIA members voted to end the boycott. When the Montgomery
bus lines resumed full service, Martin Luther King, Jr., was
among the first passengers on the newly integrated system.