Paper: An Introduction to the Life of Jo Ann Gibson Robinson

Who was Jo Ann Gibson Robinson? Jo Ann Robinson was a civil rights activist and educator. Although she was not as well known as Rosa Parks or Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Jo Ann Robison was the individual most instrumental in planning and publicizing the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott. She proposed the more than a year before it was put into operation. In Montgomery, Robinson was active in the Dexter Avenue, later under the leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Women's Political Council. In 1949, Jo Ann Robinson was verbally attacked by a bus driver, which led to her involvement in activism. She informed the city's mayor that a bus boycott might arise if bus service did not improve. With little cooperation from the mayor's office, just several days after the Supreme Court's Brown V.S. Board of Education decision, and few African Americans who were able to vote in the city, Robinson came to think about a boycott by the city's many African Americans. Following the arrest of Rosa Parks in December 1955, Robinson and others saw their opportunity to take action. Late that night, Robinson, two students, and John Cannon, chairman of the Business Department at Alabama State, produced and distributed approximately fifty-two thousand leaflets calling for a boycott of the buses. The success of the boycott convinced local civil rights leaders that it should continue conditions improved. The Montgomery Improvement Association was established to focus on the Boycott. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was elected as president. Jo Ann stayed out of the limelight in order to protect her job at Alabama State but she was arrested as one of the boycott's leaders and targeted with violence. She had a local police officer throw a stone through one of her windows. Two weeks later another police officer pour acid on her car. In 1960, Jo Ann Gibson Robinson would leave Montgomery for good. She accepted a position at Grambling College in Grambling, Louisiana. After teaching there for a year, she moved to Los Angeles and worked on the public school system until she retired in 1976. ...