Christopher Tyson never learned about the Baton Rouge bus boycott of 1953 while he was in school.
While he knew that it happened in his hometown, Tyson — now a professor at the Louisiana State University Law Center — had no idea about the importance of the boycott in the context of the larger civil rights movement.
The protest, led by African-Americans of Louisiana’s capital, was the nation’s first large scale bus boycott and served as a model for a more well known event that occurred nearly three years later — the Montgomery bus boycott.
The history of this first bus boycott is the subject of Louisiana Public Broadcasting’s “Signpost to Freedom: The 1953 Baton Rouge Bus Boycott,” which screened this month in Washington, D.C. as part of the March on Washington Film Festival. The event was held at Google’s D.C. office in partnership with LSU Law School.