Montgomery Leader Tells His Story
Report on talk by E.D. Nixon

Originally published in WRL News, May-June, 1956 (War Resisters League)

See Montgomery Bus Boycott for background & more information.
See also Montgomery Bus Boycott for web links.

E.D. Nixon, initiator of the Montgomery protest action against bus segregation, told his story at a WRL meeting at Community Church on March 28.

In a manner as casual and unassuming as if he were relating something strictly routine, he told about his role in helping to initiate the protest.

"My wife phoned and told me that Rosa Parks had been arrested on the bus. (Her case is now being appealed as a legal challenge to segregation on city buses.) I went down and put up the ball for her.

"That night I started thinking. I told my wife: 'Our people should just stop riding the buses.' She said: 'Stop day-dreaming; put out the light and go to sleep.' But I didn't. I took out a piece of paper and started writing down the names of all the people who should be contacted.

"When the ministers first got together to talk things over, the discussion went on and on. Finally I got up and asked, 'Am I to tell our people that you are cowards?' Rev. King (Martin L. King) raised his hand to signify that he was not. Before you know it, he was nominated, seconded and became president of the Montgomery Improvement Association (the organization leading the protest action).

"From the start of the protest action, luck was with us. A few of our people might have been scared into going back on the buses. But they saw that the city had put two policemen on each bus and concluded: 'Maybe we're not allowed to.' Then the buses were taken off so nobody could ride them even it they wanted to."

That's how the Montgomery protest got started early in December. Soon thereafter, the buses were back on the streets again — but almost empty because Montgomery's Negroes stood firm and unafraid and have maintained their nonviolent protest ever since."

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