Before the 13 Months, There Was One Day
After Parks’ arrest, city leaders called for a one-day protest of the city’s buses, to be held on December 5, 1955. Leaflets were handed out throughout the Black community, according to a history recounted on Stanford University’s website. E. D. Nixon, past leader of the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP, called local Black leaders, including Ralph Abernathy and King, to a planning meeting, which was held at King’s church, Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. The boycott was a resounding success: 90 percent of Montgomery’s Black citizens stayed off the buses. That afternoon, the city’s ministers and leaders met to discuss the possibility of extending the boycott into a long-term campaign.
King Was Elected Leader of the Group Because of His Lack of Popularity
Just 26 at the time, King, who had just received his doctorate in systematic theology from Boston University and arrived for his first ministerial position at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, was elected leader of the new group, Montgomery Improvement Association. Rosa Parks explained why he was picked: ‘‘The advantage of having Dr. King as president was that he was so new to Montgomery and to civil rights work that he hadn’t been there long enough to make any strong friends or enemies.’’