Dr. King’s Speech
- Grades: 3–5, 6–8
Inspired by the boycott's success, thousands of people gather in a Montgomery church on the evening of December 5 to listen to their new leader, Dr. King. In a spellbinding speech, King explains why the boycott must continue. "There comes a time," he says, "that people get tired. We are here this evening to say to those who have mistreated us for so long, that we are tired, tired of being segregated and humiliated, tired of being kicked about by the brutal feet of oppression." But above all, King asks that the protesters fight without violence. In response, the crowd rise to their feet. Thunderous applause fills the air. Leaving the church that night, the people are as determined as ever to keep the boycott going. They have three simple demands:
- Change the law that says African-American passengers must give up their seats to white passengers.
- Bus drivers must be courteous to all riders.
- Hire African-American bus drivers.
Though the demands are modest, city commissioners and the bus company still refuse to budge. Instead of weakening the boycotters' determination, the city's refusal only pushes the protesters to demand an end to bus segregation altogether. QUESTIONS FOR ROSA PARKSAt first the boycotters did not ask for very much. Read Rosa Parks's interview and learn what she had to say about the boycotters' demands.