The Montgomery bus boycott was an important event in American history that started after Rosa Parks refused to give her bus seat to a white citizen on December 1, 1955. The woman was arrested, which gave rise to the yearlong boycott that included specific actions. After arrest, hundreds of African Americans gathered in a church and refused to use buses until they were offered equal treatment (Foner 746).
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For more than a year, African Americans withstood occasional harassment and violence, but they avoided using buses and walked to their destinations or used taxis (Foner 746). Jo Ann Robinson played a significant role in the boycott by negotiating with city officials and editing the movement’s newsletter (Foner 746). Finally, the Supreme Court decided that racial segregation in public transport was unconstitutional, and the Montgomery bus boycott successfully ended in November 1956.
The idea of the “American Dream” witnessed some changes during the period under consideration. After World War II, the United States entered the era of prosperity and development. This period was characterized by low unemployment, stable prices, and rising standards of living. In particular, the official poverty rate declined from 30% in 1950 to 22% in 1960 (Foner 698). That is why Americans dreamt of comfort and wealth because there already was a narrow gap between rich and poor (Foner 698).
However, in the early 70s, the Golden Age came to an end, and a period of stagnation was going to start. Since some of the main characteristics of this era were social and economic inequalities, the American Dream reflected this fact. Consequently, ordinary people dreamt of living in an equal society where all members could have the same opportunities and resources.
Foner, Eric. Give Me Liberty! An American History. Vol. 2, 6th ed., W. W. Norton & Company, 2019.