Browder vs. Gayle

 

The initial demand of the protest was to improve seating conditions on city line buses for black passengers. The quest for equal treatment guaranteed by the 14th amendment would come in a federal class action lawsuit; Browder vs. Gayle (Tacky Gayle, Mayor of Montgomery) filed February 1956 by MIA attorneys Fred Gray and Charles Langford. The plaintiffs, Aurelia Browder, Claudette Colvin, Sue McDonald, Mary Louise Smith, and Jeanette Reese. The plaintiffs attacked the segregation laws and asked that Section 301, Title 48, code of Alabama and Section 10 and 11 of the Montgomery City Code (ordering bus segregation) become null and void. They asked the ordinances be declared unconstitutional and asked for a judgment decree to allow Negroes use private transportation for a motor pool. Mrs. Reese withdrew her name because of intimidation and threats. Note that neither Dr. King The lawsuit brought an end to the Montgomery bus boycott, it ended segregated seating of buses in Montgomery, completely reversed the Plessy vs. Ferguson decision of 1896, and along with the Brown vs. Board decision, became the precedents used by attorneys to end all segregation ordinances in America.

Time Line

February 1, 1956 Fred Gray Sr, Counsel, and Charles Langford,Co-Counsel filed the law suit in Federal District Court, Montgomery, Alabama.

May 11, 1956 Oral arguments heard by a three judge panel.

June 5, 1956 A majority of the three judge panel rules in favor of the plaintiffs.

June 19, 1956 A written opinion is issued by the judges and the case is appealed to the United States Supreme Court.

November 13, 1956 The U.S. Supreme Court by per curiam judgment, unanimously upheld the lower court ruling that segregated seating by race was a violation of the 14th Amendment.

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