This lesson has been reviewed and approved by CPALMS.
African-Americans in Tallahassee boycotted the bus system for nearly seven months after the arrest of two Florida A&M University (FAMU) students for sitting beside a white woman. During the boycott, African-Americans in Tallahassee used car pools to get to and from work and for other necessary transportation. Twenty-one members of the Inter Civic Council were convicted on charges of operating an illegal transportation system for arranging the car pool without a franchise.
Reverend C.K. Steele, pastor at the Bethel Baptist Church, led the boycott of the city-run bus system. The protest began shortly after the Montgomery bus boycott and lasted primarily from May to December of 1956. According to Tallahassee historians Mary Louise Ellis and William Warren Rogers, “[c]ity commissioners and protesting blacks never achieved a formal settlement, but gradually the sight of blacks riding at the front of the bus became more common, and the battle moved to another front.”
Examples may include, but are not limited to, Tallahassee Bus Boycotts, civil disobedience, and the legacy of early civil rights pioneers, Harry T. and Harriette V. Moore.
Although image analysis activities do not generally require reading, the skills required to extract information from visual content are similar to those required to extract information from text. Practicing these skills using primary source images provides students with a great scaffolded learning opportunity. The Image Analysis Common Core State Standards Alignment from the TPS-Barat Teaching with Primary Sources Program shows how the Common Core reading anchor standards map to primary source image analysis skills.
Students should write brief journal responses to the photographs, focused on what they learned about the Tallahassee Bus Boycott.
LAFS.4.RI.3.9 Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.
This exchange between Reverend C.K. Steele and Governor LeRoy Collins presents two different views of the car pool that operated during the Tallahassee Bus Boycott. For further study, have students read the telegram and the letter. Then, have students compare the language used to describe the event, and facts that are included or omitted in each account. After reading both accounts, have students discuss what they think really happened.