Illinois Sec. of State Remembers Montgomery Bus Boycott

December 01, 2015
The bus on which Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white passenger, on exhibit at the Henry Ford Museum.

The bus on which Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white passenger, sparking the Montgomery bus boycott, on exhibit at the Henry Ford Museum.

Wikimedia Commons

The 60th anniversary of the Montgomery bus boycott carries a special meaning for Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White. He took part in the boycott, as a college student at Alabama State College (now Alabama State University).

Tuesday, December 1st, marks the anniversary of the day in 1955 Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger in Montgomery, which led to the boycott. The boycott ended a year and 20 days later, when the Supreme Court struck down Alabama’s racial segregation laws.

White told Illinois Public Media’s Jim Meadows that as an African-American, he, too, was ordered out of a bus seat reserved for whites in Montgomery. He describes how he initially resisted the driver's order, and narrowly avoided arrest. White also discusses how African-Americans who took part in the bus boycott got around town without using public transportation. And he remembers the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., White's pastor at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, who led the boycott.

White still maintains ties with his college days in Montgomery -- he attended the Alabama State homecoming this past Thanksgiving weekend. On Thursday, December 3 at 11 AM, White will speak at a celebration remembering the Montgomery bus boycott, at Quinn Chapel AME Church, 2401 S. Wabash Ave. in Chicago.

Story source: WILL