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Encyclopedia > Edgar Nixon

Edgar Daniel Nixon (July 12, 1899February 25, 1987) was an American civil rights leader and union organizer who played a crucial role in organizing the famous Montgomery Bus Boycott in Montgomery, Alabama. Nixon also led the Montgomery branch of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters union, known as the Pullman Porters Union. Nixon also served as president of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Montgomery Welfare League, and the Montgomery Voters League. is the 193rd day of the year (194th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1899 (MDCCCXCIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Friday [1] of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar). ... is the 56th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... This article is about the year 1987. ... Civil rights or positive rights are those legal rights retained by citizens and protected by the government. ... The Montgomery Bus Boycott was a political and social protest campaign started in 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, intended to oppose the citys policy of racial segregation on its public transit system. ... Coordinates: , Country State County Montgomery Incorporated December 3, 1819 Government  - Mayor Bobby Bright Area  - City  156. ... The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP) was a labor union in the United States organized by the predominantly African-American Pullman Porters. ... The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP, generally pronounced as EN Double AY SEE PEE) is one of the oldest and most influential civil rights organizations in the United States. ...


Early activism

Nixon was born on July 12, 1899 in Montgomery. As a boy, Nixon received about one year of formal education. After working in a train station baggage room, he finally became a Pullman car porter. Years before the bus boycott, Nixon had started campaigning for voting rights and civil rights for African-Americans in Montgomery. He served as an unelected advocate for the African-American community, helping individuals deal with uncooperative white office holders, policemen, and civil servants. In 1940, Nixon organized 750 African-American men to march to the Montgomery County courthouse and attempt to register to vote. In 1954, he ran for a seat on the county Democratic Executive Committee. The next year, he questioned Democratic candidates to the Montgomery City Commission on their positions on civil rights issues Voting rights refers to the right of a person to vote in an election. ... Civil rights or positive rights are those legal rights retained by citizens and protected by the government. ... Year 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full 1940 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1954 (MCMLIV) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full 1954 Gregorian calendar). ...

Finding a plaintiff

In the early 1950's, Nixon and Jo Ann Robinson, president of the Women's Political Council decided to mount a court challenge to the discriminatory seating practices on Montgomery's municipal buses along with a boycott of the bus company. A Montgomery ordinance reserved the front seats on these buses for white passengers only, forcing African-American riders to sit in the back. Before the activists could mount the court challenge, they needed someone to voluntarily break this bus seating law and be arrested for it. Nixon carefully searched for a suitable plaintiff. He rejected one candidate because he didn't believe she had the fortitude to see the case through. Nixon rejected a second candidate because she was an unwed mother and a third candidate because her father was an alcoholic.

The final choice was Rosa Parks, the elected secretary of the Montgomery NAACP. After years working with Parks, Nixon was certain that she was the ideal candidate to challenge the discriminatory seating policy. Even so, Nixon had to persuade Parks to lead the fight. After consulting with her mother and husband, Parks accepted the challenge. On December 1, 1955, Parks entered a Montgomery bus, refused to give up her seat for a white passenger, and was then arrested. After being called about Park's arrest, Nixon went to bail her out of jail. He arranged for Park's friend Clifford Durr, a sympathetic white lawyer, to represent her. Rosa Louise McCauley Parks (February 4, 1913 – October 24, 2005) was an African American civil rights activist and seamstress whom the U.S. Congress dubbed the Mother of the Modern-Day Civil Rights Movement. Parks is famous for her refusal on December 1, 1955 to obey bus driver James Blake... Clifford Durr (1899 – 1975) was an Alabama lawyer who played an important role in defending activists and others accused of disloyalty during the New Deal and McCarthy eras and who represented Rosa Parks in her challenge to the constitutionality of the ordinance requiring the segregation of passengers on buses in...

Organizing the boycott

After Parks' arrest, Nixon called a number of local ministers to organize support for the boycott; the third one he called was a young minister who was newly arrived from Atlanta, Georgia, Martin Luther King Jr.. King said he would think about it and call back. When King called back, he told Nixon that he would participate in the boycott and had already arranged a meeting at his church. Nixon couldn't attend because of an out-of-town business trip; he therefore took precautions to see that no one was elected to lead the boycott campaign until he returned. Atlanta redirects here. ... Martin Luther King, Jr. ...

When Nixon returned to Montgomery, he met with Rev. Ralph David Abernathy and Rev. E.N. French to plan the program for the next boycott meeting. They came up with a list of demands for the bus company, named the new organization the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA), and discussed candidates for president of the association. Nixon recommended King to Abernathy and French because Nixon believed that King had not been compromised by dealing with the local white power structure. Ralph David Abernathy (March 21, 1926 - April 17, 1990) was an American civil rights leader. ... Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white man. ...

Nixon now met with a larger group of ministers to plan the boycott. However, the meeting did not proceed as Nixon had envisioned. The ministers wanted to organize a low key boycott that would not upset the white power structure in Montgomery. This was completely opposite what Nixon and the other activists wanted to achieve; an exasperated Nixon threatened to publicly denounce the ministers as cowards. That spurred King to stand and state that he was no coward. By the end of this meeting, King had accepted the MIA presidency and Nixon had become the treasurer. That evening, King delivered the keynote address to the full meeting. A keynote in literature, music or public speaking is the principal underlying theme of a larger idea — a literary story, an individual musical piece or event. ...

Successful boycott

What was expected to be a short boycott lasted 381 days. Despite fierce political opposition, police coercion, and personal threats, the boycott held. Bus ridership plummeted and the bus company was on the verge of financial ruin. On February 1, 1956, a bomb exploded in front of Nixon's home. In the meantime, the court challenge worked its way through the court system until it reached the United States Supreme Court. The boycott finally ended following the Supreme Court decision holding that Montgomery's segregation policy was unlawful. Nixon later described the Montgomery Bus Boycott to an audience of supporters in New York City's Madison Square Garden: is the 32nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... A car from 1956 Year 1956 (MCMLVI) was a leap year starting on Sunday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C. The Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C., (large image) The Supreme Court of the United States, located in Washington, D.C., is the highest court (see supreme court) in the United States; that is, it has ultimate judicial authority within the United States... New York, New York and NYC redirect here. ... Madison Square Garden, often abbreviated as MSG, and known colloquially simply as The Garden, has been the name of four arenas in New York City. ...

I'm from Montgomery, Alabama, a city that's known as the "Cradle of the Confederacy", that had stood still for more than ninety-three years until Rosa L. Parks was arrested and thrown in jail like a common criminal. Fifty thousand people rose up and caught hold to the Cradle of the Confederacy and began to rock it till the "Jim Crow" rockers began to reel and the segregated slats began to fall out. Manifestations Slavery Racial profiling Lynching Hate speech Hate crime Genocide (examples) Ethnocide Ethnic cleansing Pogrom Race war Religious persecution Gay bashing Blood libel Paternalism Police brutality Movements Policies Discriminatory Race / Religion / Sex segregation Apartheid Redlining Internment Anti-discriminatory Emancipation Civil rights Desegregation Integration Equal opportunity Counter-discriminatory Affirmative action Racial...

After the boycott

Nixon's relationship with the MIA was contentious. He frequently had sharp disagreements with others in the MIA. He also expressed resentment that King and Abernathy had received most of the credit for the boycott as opposed to the local activists, including himself, who had spent years struggling against racism. Nixon ultimately resigned his post as MIA treasurer with a bitter letter to King complaining that he had been treated as a child. Nixon continued to feud with Montgomery's Black middle class community for the next decade. However, by the late 1960's a series of political defeats eliminated his leadership role in the MIA. After retiring from the railroad, Nixon worked as the recreation director of a public housing project. This article or section contains speculation and may try to argue its points. ...

Edgar Nixon died at age 87 on February 25, 1987.

External links

Further reading

  • My Soul Is Rested, The Story Of The Civil Rights Movement In The Deep South, by Howell Raines, ISBN 0-14-006753-1
  • Parting The Waters; America In The King Years 1954-63, by Taylor Branch, ISBN 0-671-46097-8
  • Stride Toward Freedom, by Martin Luther King Jr., ISBN 0-06-250490-8
  • The Origins Of The Civil Rights Movement, Black Communities Organizing For Change, by Aldon D. Morris, ISBN 0-02-922130-7

  Results from FactBites:
Edgar Nixon at AllExperts (930 words)
Nixon was the head of the Montgomery branch of the Pullman Porters union and president of the local NAACP, as well as the Montgomery Welfare League and the Montgomery Voters League at various times.
Nixon felt certain, based on his years of working with Parks, that she was the ideal candidate to challenge the discriminatory seating policy, Even so, Nixon had to persuade Parks to lead the fight and only succeeded in doing so after she conferred with her mother and husband.
Nixon then called a number of local ministers to organize support for the boycott; the third one he called was a relatively young and newly arrived minister, Martin Luther King Jr.
King Encyclopedia (792 words)
Union leader and civil rights advocate E. Nixon was a prominent figure in the Montgomery bus boycott, the event that launched Martin Luther King, Jr.
Nixon's familiarity with civil rights activism and his community connections placed him at the center of the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955.
Nixon then asked Martin Luther King, Jr., the newly appointed pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, to host a bus-boycott planning meeting at his church.
  More results at FactBites »



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