January 30, 1956
Attorney Fred Gray filed a federal lawsuit in Montgomery challenging local and state bus segregation laws. The lawsuit came nearly two months after the arrest of Rosa Parks sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott but did not include Parks as a plaintiff due to technical reasons. Instead, Gray filed the lawsuit on behalf of five other African-American women – Claudette Colvin, Mary Louise Smith, Aurelia Browder, Susan McDonald and Jeanetta Reese – who had previously been arrested for refusing to give up their seats on city buses to white passengers. Known as Browder v. Gayle, the lawsuit made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld the District Court ruling that bus segregation laws are unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment.
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