After the settlement was exposed as having been contrived, the city commissioners toughened their stance against the boycott by refusing to negotiate and initiating a campaign of police harassment. On 23 January, after announcing that all three commissioners had joined the pro-segregation Citizens Council, Mayor Gayle accused the MIA and the boycotters of stirring up “racial strife.”1 A few days later, responding to the heated rhetoric, the MIA and several other organizations published this conciliatory advertisement in the Montgomery Advertiser.
On December 25, 1955, there was released through these columns a document from the Negro Citizens of Montgomery explaining the reasons the protest had been staged.2
Since recent public pronouncements have attempted to cloud and distort issues in the protest, we feel that further explanation is needed.
Negroes want the entire citizenry of Montgomery to know that at no time have we raised the race issue in this movement, nor have we directed our aim at the segregation laws. We are interested in a calm and fair consideration of the situation which has developed as a result of dissatisfaction over Bus policies.
The protest, which has been a non-violent method of bargaining, has been used in a democratic society to secure redress of grievances. This technique, however, has caused some of the leaders of the city to reject unrelated issues—such as “destruction of the social fabric” or “the southern tradition,” which we feel is an effort to evade the real issues involved.
We submit this to all the Citizens of Montgomery in the name of Him who brought Peace on Earth and Good Will to All Men.
NEGRO MINISTERS AND CONGREGATIONS
BAPTIST MINISTER’S CONFERENCE
THE REV. H. H. HUBBARD, PRES.
METHODIST MINISTERIAL ALLIANCE
THE REV. W. J. HAYES
INTERDENOMINATIONAL MINISTERIAL ALLIANCE
THE REV. L. R. BENNETT
MONTGOMERY IMPROVEMENT ASSOCIATION
DR. M. L. KING, PRES.
CITIZENS COORDINATING COMMITTEE
1. Quoted in “Mayor Stops Boycott Talks,” Montgomery Advertiser, 24 January 1956.
2. “To the Montgomery Public,” 25 December 1955, pp. 89-93 in this volume.
Montgomery Advertiser, 27 January 1956.