The Aurelia E. S. Browder Foundation is dedicated to the five women who were arrested before R. Parks. They filed suit in Browder vs. Gayle.
LEAD PLAINTIFF - BROWDER VS. GAYLE
Biographical Sketch of Aurelia Eliscera Shine Browder (Coleman)
Aurelia Eliscera Shine Browder (January 29, 1919-February 4, 1971) was a pioneer in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1940's, 1950's and 60's. She was the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit (Browder vs. Gayle), which caused the end of the "Separate But Equal" Laws of the land (Plessy vs. Ferguson 1886) and the end of segregated busing in Montgomery, Alabama and ultimately the South.
On February 1, 1956, at 12:45p.m., Aurelia E. S. Browder, Claudette Colvin, Mary Louise Smith, Susie McDonald, and Jeanette Reese (withdrew from case due to threats of violence) filed the lawsuit in Federal Court, and with the exception of Jeanette Reese who withdrew from the case due to intimidation from the white community, testified before a three (3) federal judge panel; Frank M, Johnson, Richard T. Rives and Seyborne Lynn on May 11, 1956 of their mistreatments on the Montgomery buses on the respective dates of March 2, April 29, October 16, and October 21, 1955, which caused them to file this lawsuit.
They were energized by the arrest of Rosa Parks, who was arrested on December 1, 1955, for the same infraction thus were determined to put an end to segregated busing and second class citizenship for Negroes in the City of Montgomery, Alabama. On June 5, 1956, the three (3) judge panel ruled 2 to 1, that segregated busing was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court upheld this decision on November 13, December 17, December 20, and December 21, 1956, when the Supreme Court ordered the desegregation of buses in Montgomery, Alabama as remedy and resolution to the Browder vs. Gayle lawsuit.
This Supreme Court's Decision legitimized the bus boycott, the actions of Martin Luther King Jr. and to that movement's leaders.
After the attempted resolution talks between the MIA and the City of Montgomery were terminated, the city of Montgomery indicted all known Black Leaders inolved in the Montgomery Bus Boycott and subsequently found Martin Luther King guilty of operating an illegal carpool which carried a penalty or fine and imprisonment. This decision was to be served on all other participants in the Montgomery Bus Boycott, however the Browder cases (Browder vs. Gayle and Browder vs. The City of Montgomery) were filed thus preventing the instution of the city court's orders.
She helped sustain the bus boycott with the use of her vehicles to would be bus riders. Mrs. Browder was also active in the fight to increase black voters. To that end, she tutored many would be voters to assist them in passing voter examinations. She was diligent in her efforts to eliminate the poll tax charged to registered voters. She transported voters to the polls and would be voters for registration.
Mrs. Aurelia E. S. Browder was a student at Alabama State Teacher's College; who graduated with honors, a member of the National Association of Colored People (NAACP), Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), Women's Political Council (WPC), and the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA), when she became the lead plaintiff in this Landmark Decision (Lawsuit Browder vs. Gayle).