Can You Get There from Here?: How the Law Still Threatens King's Dream

Law & Equality, Vol. 22, 2004

21 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2005


In 1953, the Baton Rouge bus boycott created a model of organization Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Montgomery Improvement Association so successfully used two years later in Montgomery. But these boycotts were not just about segregated buses, and their organization reveals a lesson about economic regulations which has yet to be learned today. Like much of the history of racial conflict in America, segregation involved a complex mixture of law and social organization. One obstacle faced by both boycotts was that drivers who provided alternative transportation for the protestors could not charge for rides. Taxicab regulations in both cities proved a powerful tool in the hands of segregationists. Unfortunately, such regulations continue to profoundly affect our society today. This paper explores some of the racial and economic implications of transportation regulations, keeping in mind the law's power to create and manipulate economic relationships and the profound effect it has on civil rights and the pursuit of happiness.

Keywords: Segregation, bus boycott, economic regulation, civil rights

JEL Classification: K19

Suggested Citation

Sandefur, Timothy, Can You Get There from Here?: How the Law Still Threatens King's Dream. Law & Equality, Vol. 22, 2004, Available at SSRN:

Timothy Sandefur (Contact Author)

Goldwater Institute ( email )

500 E. Coronado Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85004
United States
(602) 462-5000 (Phone)
(602) 256-7045 (Fax)


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