Civil Rights Movement
HILLIARD CHAPEL A.M.E. ZION CHURCH
CIVIL RIGHTS HISTORICAL NOTES
The most removed from the Bus Boycott before it began December 5, 1955, were Black ministers and Black churches. Nevertheless, the Ministers and Churches made the Bus Boycott the success it was.
On Friday, December 2, 1955, a large number of Montgomery Black ministers were meeting at Hilliard Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church on the corner of High and Hall Streets. Mrs. Joann Robinson, a professor at Alabama State College and two students entered without being noticed and left a handful of circulars that were notices of a bus boycott planned to take place in the coming days
Rev. E.N. French was pastor of Hilliard Chapel during this time. He later became Corresponding Secretary and a member of the Executive Board of the Montgomery Improvement Association (M.I.A). The Montgomery Improvement Association was an organization that pledged to protect, defend, encourage, enlighten and assist Blacks against unfair treatment and prejudicial situations.
As a result of the meetings and notices distributed on December 2, 1955, Hilliard Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church participated in the initial "Cranking Stage" of the world renowned Montgomery Bus Boycott. Many A.M.E. Zion Churches and ministers played major roles in the Boycott. Rev. E.N. French who was referred to by Dr. Ralph Abernathy as the "Prophet of the Movement", and Dr. Martin Luther King referred to him as the "Spiritual Future of the Movement"