Original Timeline Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929. MLK was an activist. He spent the majority of his life fighting for racial equality and was the most noticeable figure of the Civil Rights Movement. In 1955, King led the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The boycott was successful. The boycott led to other successful boycotts and jump started King’s career as one of the most famous civil rights leaders. King went on to lead many different peaceful protests, including the March on Washington. He was eventually assassinated.
(Failed) Montgomery Bus Boycott In 1955, a woman named Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus for a white person. She was arrested. Rosa Parks was not the first black American to refuse to give up their seat for a white person. Her actions, along with other incidents, inspired the Montgomery Bus Boycott. It was led by Ralph Abernathy. Ralph Abernathy was born in 1926. Abernathy and English professor, JoAnn Robinson collaborated and encouraged black Americans to boycott the bus systems. While there was a large amount of support for the Montgomery Bus Boycott, after two years, the African American community gave up. There was no change from the bus companies, the government or in the Jim Crow laws. After giving up, many black Americans continued to refuse to move for white passengers. In 1958, an 18-year-old passenger named Betty Lands was dragged off a bus by the bus driver and a fellow passenger after she refused to change seats. This was the beginning of many violent actions toward black passengers who refused to move. Most of the incidents resulted in the black passenger being arrested and the person who was violent, not having any repercussions. These instances led to a ban of black Americans on buses. All states adopted this law, even the states that were almost strictly black citizens. Many states have gotten rid of the law, but there are some states that have kept it in place. The states that still have the law in place are; Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Texas, and Utah. Before the states with mostly black populations dropped the law, a private bus system was created. The bus system was called “Mystic Busses” and they are still running today. They put the public bus system out of business in the black populated states. The bus system all runs in states that have banned black riders. Many white people living in the south choose to use this bus system instead of the public ones to show their disagreement and dislike of the law that bans blacks on public busses.
Violence After the failed bus boycott, many Americans turned to violence. After any racial tension or arguments, people often would fight. Some fights involved weapons while others did not. There were many arguments and fights that led to deaths. The death that gained the most attention was the death of a young African American girl in 1960 named Ellen Smith. She was with her father David Smith when he was accused of stealing cough medicine from a drug store. The store owner, Thomas Burns and David Smith were fighting in the street next to the store when Burns pulled out a gun to shoot David and shot Ellen instead. This is only one instance of the violence that occurred between blacks and whites in the late 50s and early 60s.
Separation of Country After the death of Ellen Smith, many black Americans called for all black people to move north. This movement was led by Ralph Abernathy who started the Montgomery Bus Boycott. By 1965, the entire country was split in two. Most black Americans lived in the Northern states, the highest population being in the states of Michiganand Wisconsin. After the black population moved into Michigan and Wisconsin, almost 85% of the white population left immediately. Today the Northern states have about 80% black Americans, 15% white Americans with the other 5% being unspecified minorities. Many factories in the both the south and the north initially shut down after the loss of so many workers at once. But after about six weeks, many companies and factories went on large hiring sprees and filled every position.
Modern Day Today, in 2018, the country remains separated. The public bussing system in the south is still shut down and has been replaced by the Mystic Bus Company. The company also has busses in the southern part of the country. The south is mostly populated by white Americans. Black Americans populate less than 2% of the south. The “neutral territory” is populated by other minority groups such as Latino, Asian and Middle Eastern people. There is trade from the south to the north. Many clothing companies and food companies manufacture in the north while a lot of car companies operate from the south. The road systems travel through all parts of the country, but there is a clear distinction as to what part of the country you are in by the color of the road signs.