DIRECTIONS: Read the assignment prompt. Use the material in the right pane to review the sources and your answers from the Inquiry page, by selecting a source and then using the tabs. Compose your answer in the box on the left. Use the email form to send your answer to your instructor.

ASSIGNMENT: Some books say something like this: "Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a White man. African Americans heard this and decided to boycott the buses." But this is a brief description of a complex event. Write a more complete answer to the question: Why did the boycott of Montgomery’s buses succeed?

Use the documents and your background knowledge to support your ideas. Include specific examples and quotes.



Letter from Durr to Director of Highlander Folk School

Virginia Foster Durr was a white woman who supported civil rights for African Americans in Montgomery. Here, Durr writes the director of the Highlander Folk School and his wife. Highlander was a center for training civil rights activists and labor organizers.

January 30, 1956

Dear Myles and Zilphia:

I just received a communication from there giving a summary of the past year’s activities and I think you should add how much you had to do with the Montgomery Bus Boycott which is really making history and is of the deepest significance. LIFE, TIME, CBS, NBC, and countless other papers have been down here covering it… I think it is the first time that a whole Negro community has ever stuck together this way and for so long and I think they are going to win it.

But how your part comes in is through the effect the school had on Mrs. Parks. When she came back she was so happy and felt so liberated and then as time went on she said the discrimination got worse and worse to bear AFTER having, for the first time in her life, been free of it at Highlander. I am sure that had a lot to do with her daring to risk arrest as she is naturally a very quiet and retiring person although she has a fierce sense of pride and is, in my opinion, a really noble woman. But you and Zilphia should certainly take pride in what you did for her and what she is doing....

Lots of love to all, come and see for yourself.


Excerpt from a letter written by Virginia Foster Durr to Myles and Zilphia Horton, January 30, 1956. Montgomery, Alabama.

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