In Cooper v. Aaron, the Supreme Court ruled that the governor and legislature of Arkansas were bound by the court’s Brown v. Board of Education ruling. The case affirmed the Supreme Court’s rulings and interpretation of the US Constitution as the “supreme law of the land.”
Four black college students from the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College staged the first of the Civil Rights Movement’s sit-ins. The students sat down at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, and attempted to order but were refused service. The sit-in movement grew to more than 140 cities. Participants faced harassment, violence, and arrest in their attempts to integrate public lunch counters.
The Montgomery bus boycott began on December 6, 1955, prompted by the arrest five days earlier of Rosa Parks. The boycotters were led by Martin Luther King Jr. They walked and carpooled to protest segregation in public transportation. They faced harassment and violence from white police and residents. In November 1956, the Supreme Court ruled in Gayle et al. v. Browser that segregation of the city’s buses was unconstitutional. African Americans returned to Montgomery’s buses on December 21, 1956.
Yale University historian Jonathan Holloway discusses his 2013 work, Jim Crow Wisdom: Memory and Identity in Black America since 1940, with James Basker, President of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.