Stephen Nessen, Reporter, WNYC News
Stephen Nessen reports for the WNYC Newsroom and can often be heard live on Morning Edition.
The facts: On Dec. 1, 1955, a seamstress got off work at the Montgomery Fair department store and boarded a bus. She took a seat in the fifth row, the 'Colored Section,' and refused to get up when a white passenger demanded she move. That woman of course is Rosa Parks and her arrest was used by the NAACP to launch the Montgomery Bus Boycott. It lasted lasted 381 days and is where the 26 year-old Martin Luther King Jr. became a visible presence in the civil rights movement. A law suit was filed which led to the Supreme Court eventually ruling that segregation on buses was unconstitutional.
Music was a major component of the Civil Rights Movement. It was used to galvanize, inspire, and comfort. Below is a rare recording by Brother Will Hairston inspired by the bus boycott. A Detroit based musician, he recorded gospel songs that were political and topical at a time when many other musicians did not do this. Below is his song about the Montgomery Bus Boycott called, 'Alabama Bus.'