The Baton Rouge Bus Boycott

Image credit: LPB

Way back in 2003, while we were living in Baton Rouge, I got to work on the 50th anniversary observance of the Baton Rouge Bus Boycott.

Part of that work included some behind-the-scenes work on an award-winning documentary, produced by Louisiana Public Broadcasting. (The title came from an early treatment that I prepared to help secure grant funding for the project. They eventually hired a “real” scriptwriter, but I’m still thrilled to have helped preserve this story for posterity.)

Here’s the promo clip:

On this 2012 MLK, Jr. Day, I invite you to learn more about the incredible story that inspired and shaped the Montgomery Bus Boycott–but is largely forgotten in popular culture. Remember: whether or not the Baton Rouge boycott was a success is debatable. What is certain, however, is that MLK called one of the boycott’s leaders–Rev. Jemison–and adapted what was learned in Louisiana’s capital city to Montgomery.

I bring this story up today to remind us that the work of great leaders requires precedence, diligence and–for better or worse–great patience on behalf of many people.

No, it’s not just the folks in the spotlight that bring about change. It takes trial and error on behalf of ordinary people committed to making a difference.

Some resources to help you explore this topic further:

The First Civil Rights Bus Boycott (NPR)
LSU Libraries: Baton Rouge 1953 Bus Boycott Exhibit