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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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African-American Women Threaten a Bus Boycott in Montgomery

This letter from the Women's Political Council to the Mayor of Montgomery, Alabama, threatens a bus boycott by the city's African Americans if demands for fair treatment are not met.

The Bostonians Paying the Excise-Man, or Tarring & Feathering

This 1774 British print, titled "The Bostonians Paying the Excise-Man, or Tarring and Feathering," depicts the attack of a Patriot crowd on Boston Commissioner of Customs John Malcolm. Tarring and feathering was a ritual of humiliation and public [...]

Rosa Parks Takes a Stand Against Segregation

Rosa Parks gained international fame in 1955 for refusing to give up her seat in the "whites-only" section on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Parks, an employee of the Montgomery Fair department store and secretary for the NAACP, later said [...]

Tags: Boycotts
Illustration of bus where Rosa Parks sat, December 1, 1955

The diagram below shows where Rosa Parks sat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, on December 1, 1955. At the time, the first ten seats on Montgomery buses were reserved for white passengers only. Parks was sitting in the eleventh row. When the bus [...]

Tags: Boycotts
Item Type: Laws/Court Cases
North Carolina Women Support a Non-importation Campaign

This declaration, reprinted in a London newspaper, provides an example of women's political activism during the revolutionary period. Over fifty "American ladies" from Edenton, North Carolina signed an agreement to stop buying and using tea, British [...]

An African-American Man Protests Labor Discrimination at Bowman Dairy

In 1937, African-American activists in Chicago founded the Negro Labor Relations League to put pressure on companies that refused to hire black workers. The League's campaigns targeted newspapers (to promote black newscarriers), movie theaters (to [...]

Local Activists Call for a Bus Boycott in Montgomery

This leaflet, produced by Jo Ann Robinson and others in response to Rosa Parks' arrest on December 1, 1955, called for all African Americans to stay off city buses on Monday, December 5. Robinson was president of the Women's Political Council, an [...]

Tags: Boycotts
Montgomery Improvement Association Advises on Integrated Bus Patronage

The U.S. Supreme Court decision that ended the Montgomery bus boycott introduced integrated public transportation to the city in December 1956. Anticipating mixed reactions to the boycott's success, the Montgomery Improvement Association distributed [...]

Tags: Boycotts
Reverend Abernathy Recalls the Montgomery Improvement Association's First Meeting

In the following excerpt, Reverend Ralph Abernathy remembers the first mass meeting of the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) at a local Baptist church on the first day of the boycott. After this, the MIA held regular weekly meetings until the [...]

Tags: Boycotts
Item Type: Book (excerpt)
"Don't Buy Where You Can't Work": Political Activism in Depression-Era Harlem

This text highlights the growth of political activism that took place in Harlem during the Great Depression. Discriminatory hiring practices and widespread unemployment triggered job campaigns focused on increasing black employment in the largely [...]