Letter from Robinson to the Mayor (Modified)

Some of the language and phrasing in this document has been modified from the original.

Head Note: In this letter, Jo Ann Robinson writes the Mayor of Montgomery asking for fair treatment on the buses.

Honorable Mayor W. A. Gayle
City Hall
Montgomery, Alabama

Dear Sir:

The Women’s Political Council is very grateful to you and the City Commissioners for the hearing you allowed our representative when the “bus-fare case” was being reviewed two months ago. There were several things the Council asked for:

  1. A city law that would make it possible for Negroes to sit from back toward front, and whites from front toward back until all the seats are taken.
  2. That Negroes not be forced to pay fare at front and go to the rear of the bus to enter.
  3. That buses stop at every corner in Negro communities as they do in communities where whites live.

We are happy to report that buses have begun stopping at more corners now in some sections where Negroes live than before. However, the same practices in seating and boarding the bus continue.

Mayor Gayle, three-fourths of bus riders are Negroes. If Negroes did not ride them, they could not possibly run.

More and more of our people are riding with friends and neighbors to keep from being insulted and humiliated by bus drivers.

There has been talk from 25 or more local organizations of planning a city-wide boycott of buses. We, sir, do not feel that forceful actions are necessary in asking for something which is right for all bus passengers.

Please consider this plea, and if possible, act upon it, for even now plans are being made to ride less, or not at all, on our buses. We do not want this.

Respectfully yours,
The Women’s Political Council
Jo Ann Robinson, President

Source: Excerpt from a letter written by Jo Ann Robinson, May 21, 1954. Montgomery, Alabama.