On 1 December 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger on a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama. This single act of nonviolent resistance sparked the Montgomery bus boycott, an eleven-month struggle to desegregate the city’s buses. Under the leadership of Martin Luther King, Jr., the boycott resulted in a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that public bus segregation is unconstitutional and catapulted both King and Parks into the national spotlight.
Resolutions presented at the 12/5 Montgomery Improvement Association mass meeting and sent to city officials on 12/6, with handwritten proposals by King added for the 12/8 meeting.
The first mass meeting of the Montgomery Improvement Association attracted several thousand people to the spacious Holt Street Baptist Church, in a black working-class section of Montgomery. Both the sanctuary and the basement auditorium were filled well before the proceedings began, and an audience outside listened via loudspeakers. In addition to reporters, photographers, and two television crews, black leaders from other Alabama cities such as Birmingham, Mobile, and Tuscaloosa were among those in attendance.