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In 1954, Coretta Scott King and Martin Luther King, Jr., moved to Montgomery, Alabama, and King began his pastorship at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. From the beginning, King was committed to social gospel ministry, addressing economic injustice and encouraging his congregation to become socially active. However, his leadership role in the civil rights movement did not begin until he became the spokesman for the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA). Contrary to what many believe, King was a product of the movement rather than the initiator. He went to become the public voice for the grassroots protesters and countless local activists. 
In response to Rosa Parks' arrest and Jo Ann Robinson's successful call to boycott the public buses, black community leaders formed the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA).  The organization supported local activists in caring on the boycott. On December 5, 1955, Martin Luther King, Jr., became the chairman of the newly established MIA. As its leader, King inspired and guided the many local organizers and activists in their nonviolent boycott of public transportation. In November 1956, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed a federal district court's ruling in Browder v. Gayle, ending segregated seating on public buses. By framing the Montgomery Bus Boycott in the broader context of the universal human struggle for equality, King emerged as a major civil rights leader while drawing national attention to the racial segregation in the South. 


Primary Sources: 
Document A: Martin Luther King, Jr. MIA Mass Meeting at Holt Street Baptist Church. December 1955
Document B: Martin Luther King, Jr. "Why Jesus Called a Man a Fool,'' Sermon Delivered at Mount Pisgah Missionary Baptist Church. August 1967.

King Encyclopedia

Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Montgomery, Alabama
Social Gospel 
Montgomery Improvement Association 
Rosa Parks
Jo Ann Gibson Robinson
Montgomery Bus Boycott
Browder v. Gayle

Lesson Plans (LP) and Lesson Activities (LA):

LP: Montgomery Bus Boycott
LP: Voices of the Struggle: The Continual Struggle for Equality

LA: Montgomery Bus Boycott
Teaching Nonviolent Direct Action Through Children's Literature, Part 3: Rosa


Chapter 7: Montgomery Movement Begins
In: Clayborne Carson (ed), The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. 2001. 

Clayborne Carson, Emma J. Lapsansky-Werner, Gary B. Nash. The Struggle for Freedom. The Modern Era, Since 1930. Pearson, 2019.  
Chapter 17: Emergence of a Mass Movement against Jim Crow, pp. 380-393.

17.2 The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference 
17.2.1 A Community Revolts
17.2.2 Martin Luther King, Jr., and Boycott Leader
17.2.3 The Founding of SCLC and King's Widening Influence 

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