Why did the boycott of Montgomery's buses succeed? (Read each source below, then answer the questions in the notebook. Ask your teacher for an inquiry organizer worksheet to help you think about the ways that the sources support and contradict each other.)


READ: Martin Luther King, Jr. speaks to the crowd

Head Note: At this Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) weekly meeting, King speaks to the crowd.

Democracy gives us this right to protest and that is all weíre doing.... We can say honestly that we have not advocated violence, have not practiced it and have gone courageously on with a Christian movement. Ours is a spiritual movement depending on moral and spiritual fortitude. The protest is still going on. (Great deal of applause here)....

Freedom doesnít come on a silver platter. With every great movement toward freedom there will inevitably be trials. Somebody will have to have the courage to sacrifice. You donít get to the Promised Land without going through the Wilderness. You donít get there without crossing over hills and mountains, but if you keep on keeping on, you canít help but reach it. We wonít all see it, but itís coming and itís because God is for it....

We wonít back down. We are going on with our movement.

Let us continue with the same spirit, with the same orderliness, with the same discipline, with the same Christian approach. I believe that God is using Montgomery as his proving ground.... God be praised for you, for your loyalty, for your determination. God bless you and keep you, and may God be with us as we go on.

Source: Excerpts from a speech by Martin Luther King, Jr., as reported by Anna Holden, a teacher at Fisk University. March 22, 1956. Montgomery, Alabama.

USE THE NOTEBOOK (instructions):


These definitions should help with reading comprehension.

  • advocate: to support or speak in favor of something
  • fortitude: strength and endurance in a difficult or painful situation
  • trials: instances of hardship, especially ones that test someone's ability to endure
  • proving ground: a place or a situation in which somebody or something new is tried out or tested

Historian Think Aloud

Professor Fred Astren is reading Martin Luther King's speech to the MIA.

Using the Think Aloud

Listen to educator Daisy Martin explain how to use the Think Aloud in analyzing the document.

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