When Rosa Parks refused on the afternoon of Dec. 1, 1955, to give up her bus seat so that a white man could sit, it is unlikely that she fully realized the forces she had set into motion and the controversy that would soon swirl around her.

Voices of the Boycott


Inez Baskin
Framed certificates line the walls of Inez Baskin’s modest home on Mobile Highway
Aurelia Shines Browder Coleman
His mother’s case literally turned things around in segregated America, but he says most people don’t even know about it.
Samuel Gadson
Samuel Gadson, 78, looks off into the distance from the porch of his home on West Woodland Dr.
Thelma Glass
When Thelma Glass looks out the small rear kitchen window of her home of five decades, she can still see it.
Urelee Gordon
He’s shined the shoes of many men, but there was one he’ll always remember: “The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” he said with a broad smile.
Thomas Gray 
Thomas Gray recalls feelings of shock when hearing Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery city bus to a white man.
Vera Harris
With the tick of an old kitchen clock inching time forward, Vera Harris made a mental leap into the past, recalling the spirited days of a cohesive black community in Montgomery circa 1955-56.
Bob Ingram
Ingram, who started with the Advertiser in the summer of 1953, covered politics from the state Capitol, but he soon began to learn more about the budding civil rights movement.
Gwen Patton
Their framed smiling faces cover the length of one of her bedroom walls.
Idessa Redden
Idessa Redden apologized for the stuffiness of her house as she sat down in her chair, her cane at her side.
John F. Sawyer Jr.
When John F. Sawyer Jr. came to Montgomery, he had just left the Navy and the Montgomery Bus Boycott was already underway.
Rev. Donnie Williams
In late November 1955, the Rev. Donnie Williams had a dream of turtles with guns coming in from the west.
Lillie Mae Bradford

Lillie Mae Bradford had just finished her shift as a custodian at Pineview Manor on Dalraida Road that warm day in May 1951 when she boarded a city bus to take her home.
Johnnie Carr
The large room was filled with white light and bustled with the voices of familiar friends.
Fred Gray Sr.
When now famous civil rights attorney Fred Gray Sr. decided to be a lawyer, the first thing he wanted to do was “tear down everything segregated I could find.”
Annie B. Giles
At the beginning of the boycott, Giles rode with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and watched as he was arrested for no apparent reason.
Rev. Robert Graetz
When asked about what the boycott meant to the world, The Rev. Robert Graetz jokes: “Do I have an hour?”
Amelia Scott Green
For Amelia Scott Green, the Montgomery Bus Boycott began early one morning when she noticed a piece of paper hanging on her door.
Charlie Hardy
Charlie Hardy grew up fast in the area of Montgomery now known as Trenholm Court.
Sarah Herbert
It was dangerous for anyone – white or black – to support the Montgomery Bus Boycott. But there were whites who did. Montgomery resident Sarah Herbert was among them.
Dorothy Posey Jones
“‘God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, Thou who has brought us thus far on the way; Thou who has by thy might Led us into the light, Keep us forever in the path, we pray …'”
Dorothy Posey & Inell Johnson
Dorothy Posey motioned Ester Duncan to a sink so she could shampoo her hair. Posey lathered shampoo in Duncan’s hair and massaged her scalp.
Mary Jo Smiley
She clutched the big, black rectangular scrapbook close to her chest and she walked gingerly with it.
E.D. Nixon
The fact some try to give his father credit for Parks’ decision to be arrested surprises LaTour because he said his father did so much for which he isn’t given credit.
Lucille Times
For most black residents of Montgomery, the bus boycott began on Dec. 3, 1955. But for Lucille Times, it started six months earlier, after she had a fight with a Montgomery bus driver on a warm afternoon in early June.