Baton Rouge Bus Boycott
Chronology, 1950-1955

Early 1950: Independent black-owned buses were declared illegal in Baton Rouge, including the Blue Goose Bus, Jelly Bean, and others.

January 1953: Bus fares were raised from ten cents to fifteen cents.

February 11, 1953: For the first time, Reverend Jemison went to the City Council to speak about the fact that there were empty seats on the buses in the white section, while the black people had to stand in the overcrowded back of the buses.

February 25, 1953: City Council moves to approve Ordinance 222. (Ordinance 222 stated that black people could fill up the bus from the back to the front, and white people could fill the bus from front to back based on a first-come, first-served basis.)

March 19, 1953: Ordinance 222 was in effect, but ignored.

Early June 1953: Bus drivers were ordered to comply with Ordinance 222. Bus driver "man handles" black woman rider who was sitting in a front seat of one of the buses. Willis Reed meets Jesse Webb, Sr.

June 13, 1953: Reverend Jemison tests law by sitting in front seat of a bus. He carries a copy of Ordinance 222 in his shirt pocket.

June 14, 1953: Two bus drivers are suspended for not complying with Ordinance 222.

June 15, 1953: Bus drivers strike for four days.

June 18, 1953: United Defense League meets and organizes Bus Boycott in Baton Rouge.

June 19, 1953: Bus Drivers Strike ends. Raymond Scott goes to radio station, WLCS, and has the announcement about the Bus Boycott read to the public.

June 20, 1953: Free Ride System goes into effect. First mass meeting was held at Mt. Zion Baptist Church. Crosses were burned at the Mt. Zion Baptist Church and at Reverend Jemison's home.

June 21, 1953: McKinley High School -- At the mass meeting, money was collected to purchase gasoline for the car pool.

June 22, 1953: Mass meeting was held at the Memorial Stadium because of the enormous crowds that were attending the meetings.

June 23, 1953: Reverend Jemison calls off the Boycott. There were conflicting views about ending the Boycott; some protesters continued to refuse to ride the buses even though the Boycott was officially over. United Defense League met with the Executive Board.

June 24, 1953: Ordinance 251 is passed. It was considered a compromise: all people could now sit on the buses. The only exception was that the first two seats on any bus were reserved for white people, and the last two seats on the bus for black people. People of any color could sit in between.

September 1953: District Court Judge Holcombe dismisses case. Jemison does not appeal.

October 1953: Joe Howard was arrested because he sat next to a white man on one of two front seats.

1955: Martin Luther King calls Reverend Jemison concerning the plans that were used to coordinate the Baton Rouge Bus Boycott.

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