Friday, January 13, 2012

Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday is becoming a day to do volunteering.

The Montgomery bus boycott started without being particularly led by the ministers, but they were the leaders of the community, and they and others expected them to assume leadership.

Women were important in starting the boycott impulse before the meeting because white bus drivers routinely screamed at black women to move who were sitting in what the drivers thought was the wrong place. It wasn't a matter of asking in a normal voice.

On the evening of the day Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to move when screamed at, the meeting of black ministers and other black leaders about how to lead the already happening event boycott in the church King was minister of. This meant that though other people at the meeting of about seventy people could and did slip out, he had to stay to the end.

He was a new guy in town, and this appealed to some of the others as a reason for him to lead, so there he still was and he was new. The task was tough and not utterly without danger.

So, he became the miniter who was leader of the boycott. Various subsidiary reasons for that could be perceived by King and other thinking like him as how God worked out God's will on this occasion. That isn't necessarily wrong. God is good at working with conditions like that, especially among people who are all the time invoking God, and or the greater good, in their lives.

In the day leading up the the meeting, flyer handout was going on, to encourage the leaders in their meeting that night to continue the boycott, make strong demands, to not knuckle under.

No Xerox machines then, so having a way to make copies was power not everyone had. Jo Ann Robinson, a woman who had been screamed at by a bus driver and who was a political activist, had a friend who had access to a mimeograph machine as part of her job at Alabama State. A mimeograph a copy maker where you had to make a special kind of original for it to work. Jo Ann Robinson made a thousands of copies of a flyer to lead to the leaders, and made sure they got around.

That kind of pressure and the been around guys sort of said, yes and how about the new guys leads, and the new guy said yes to the situation, and to God.

--information from "Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference" by David Garrow