Rosa Parks, after refusing to give up her bus seat to a White passenger in December 1955, effectively started the Montgomery Bus Boycott. A citywide bus boycott was organized in protest by civil rights activists including Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and other Black preachers and community leaders.
Rosa Jordan, a pregnant Black woman who was shot on a Montgomery bus just days after the Bus Boycott ended and the busing system was officially integrated, is a lesser-known story.
From December 1, 1955, African Americans in Montgomery chose to boycott boarding buses to protest racial segregation in the city’s public transportation system. The Montgomery Bus Boycott, often regarded as the first big civil rights demonstration in the United States against segregation, aided the cause of the movement for racial and economic equality in America.
Cars, trucks, and wagons were always available to transport Black workers to and from work, with insurance, gas, and repairs paid for with cash generated. The boycott came to a conclusion on December 20, 1956, when the US Supreme Court declared segregated seating in Montgomery’s public transportation system unconstitutional and ordered its integration.
Following the decision, Black people were allowed to ride on integrated buses again. Some White citizens, however, who were dissatisfied with the decision, began terrorizing Black riders. Snipers started shooting at buses throughout the city.
Jordan, who was eight months pregnant at the time, was riding a desegregated bus through a Black area on the evening of December 28, 1956, when White snipers opened fire. Jordan was shot in both legs and taken to Oak Street General Hospital in New York City. According to an EJI investigation, medics were “hesitant to remove a bullet lodged in her leg for fear of causing premature birth.”
According to the article, Jordan was told she would have to stay in the hospital for the duration of her pregnancy. Jordan’s shooting came after two previous sniper strikes on municipal buses. Those shootings took place a week before Jordan’s. However, no passengers were on board the buses that were targeted, and no injuries were reported.
Following Jordan’s tragic occurrence on December 28, the Police Commissioner ordered that all buses be shut down for the night. The following day, three city commissioners met with a bus company executive and decided to halt the all-night bus service after 5:00 p.m. The curfew was in effect until January 22, 1957.