What Were the Economic Effects of the Montgomery Bus Boycott?

The Montgomery Bus Boycott had a significant economic impact on the bus companies of Montgomery, Alabama, as well as on the city's downtown shops. African-Americans comprised 75 percent of bus riders before the boycott, so their lack of patronage hurt the bus companies' profits significantly. In addition, the boycott meant that fewer African-Americans were traveling to Montgomery's city center and shopping in its stores.

The Montgomery Bus Boycott lasted for 381 days from Dec. 5, 1955 to Dec. 20, 1956. African-Americans refused to ride the city's buses following the arrest of activist Rosa Parks, who refused to give her seat to a white rider on a city bus on Dec. 1, 1955. City laws at the time required African-Americans to sit in the back half of the bus and to give up their seats to white riders if the front half of the bus was filled. Parks was arrested for refusing to yield her seat.

On Dec. 5, 1955, African-American leaders met and formed the Montgomery Improvement Association. The MIA developed the boycott, encouraging African-Americans to carpool to their destinations and asking African-American taxi drivers to match the 10 cent bus fares. Many chose to walk to their destinations. On the first day of the boycott, 40,000 African-Americans participated.