Rosa Parks Wouldn’t Budge

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Nevertheless, in the long run, their triumph was overshadowed, for at the very moment when the four churches were being attacked, the M.I.A. leadership was in Nashville laying plans for a new organization: the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Its president was Martin Luther King, Jr.; its basic philosophy was militant nonviolence. Ahead lay many events: sit-ins, freedom rides, gunfire on the campus of the University of Mississippi, the March on Washington, the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts of 1964 and 1965, the summers of rioting in northern cities—and then, the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr., in a Memphis motel. Perhaps it would take the decade of the seventies to discover the full meaning of the record that began with the Montgomery boycott. But in that January of 1957, as integrated buses rolled down the streets of the Confederacy’s first capital, over which the Stars and Bars still flew, almost everyone must have sensed that a new page in the history of black (and white) Americans had been turned.