Anniversary of Montgomery Bus Boycott Inspires 'Injustice Boycott'
12/9/2016 12:26:17 PM
Sheryl Estrada, Special to The Chronicle via DiversityInc
New York Daily News senior justice writer and Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King was inspired by the Montgomery Bus Boycott's long-term economic strategy of protest. King, and other activists, used it as a guideline to create an Injustice Boycott against cities and corporations that is set to begin Monday.
On the anniversary of the historic boycott, which began on Dec. 5, 1955, organizers will announce the first three cities targeted in the Injustice Boycott, along with the basic framework for how the protest will be conducted and a list of the top 10 cities that will follow.
InjusticeBoycott.com states that more than 100,000 people across the country have pledged to participate.
In a radio interview with Tom Joyner on Thursday, King said, "we need to be concerned" about President-elect Donald Trump and "keep our eyes on him." But most of the changes activists seek will happen at a local, citywide level, he said.
"When Donald Trump put a white supremacist as his chief strategist, it was an immediate sign that he had very few intentions on taking our issues and concerns seriously," King said.
"We are launching the Injustice Boycott, in cities all over the country, to hold local politicians, police departments and businesses accountable for the systemic injustice and police brutality that happens in those cities."
King said that he and other organizers, whom he has not yet named, have been planning the protest for three months. In a September column, he said they are waiting until Monday to disclose information on the boycott because "we do not want any potential institutions to somehow undermine our efforts."
King said the national boycott would include:
— Entire cities and states much like what you see being done in North Carolina right now over the anti-LGBT House Bill 2.
— Particular brands and corporations who partner with and profit from systemic oppression.
— Particular brands and corporations headquartered in cities and states notorious for police brutality and racial violence, which say and do little to nothing about it.
— Particular institutions, including banks, which fund, underwrite, inform, train or otherwise support systemic oppression and brutality.
The activist's commentary for the Daily News focuses on social justice, police brutality and race relations. He did not indicate that the newspaper is involved with the boycott.
The Montgomery Bus Boycott
More than 60 years ago, on Dec. 1, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a city bus in Montgomery, Ala. Four days later, a boycott to protest segregated seating began.
When Parks, a secretary to the president of the NAACP's Montgomery chapter and an activist, was arrested, the civil rights organization considered her the right person to move the strategy forward. Common folklore portrays Parks as a passive, quiet seamstress who accidentally became involved in the civil rights movement when she was so exhausted she refused to give up her seat.
But Adolphus Belk, professor of political science at Winthrop University in South Carolina, told DiversityInc that's not the case.
"She didn't just fail to move because she was too tired to comply," Belk said. "She wasn't this sort of delicate, passive person in it all. She had a great deal of agency. She had a lot of fire. She was someone who had a strong mind, who had a long commitment to civil justice and civil rights. And who had already been a leader in the NAACP in Montgomery."
Months before Parks' actions a number of African American women in Montgomery also refused to give up their seats to white patrons and were arrested, including 15-year-old Claudette Colvin. It was the case Browder v. Gayle, in which Colvin was a plaintiff, that ended up in a federal court in February 1956. It was around this case that the Supreme Court declared bus segregation unconstitutional in December 1956.
The bus boycott lasted 381 days. It was part of an established movement, with dedicated activism and support of leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., during a time when Americans were pushing for change. It was systematic, with an agenda.