Timeline

1956

August 25th, 1956

Montgomery, Alabama, Home of Bus Boycott Supporter Bombed

On the night of April 25, 1956, several sticks of dynamite were thrown into the yard of Pastor Robert Graetz’s Montgomery, Alabama, home where they exploded, breaking the home's front windows and damaging the front door. A young white minister serving the city’s primarily African American Trinity Lutheran Church, Pastor Graetz was a member of the Montgomery Improvement Association, the community group that had planned and guided the city’s bus boycott to protest racially discriminatory treatment toward black bus riders. Pastor Graetz had been an outspoken supporter of the ongoing bus boycott since it began on December 5, 1955, and was known to regularly provide transportation to boycott participants traveling to and from work.

At the time of the explosion, Pastor Graetz was attending an integration workshop in Tennessee. His wife and children were not at home and no one was injured in the blast. In January 1956, the Montgomery homes of local minister Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and E.D. Nixon, former president of the local NAACP, were bombed. Both men were active boycott leaders.

In response to the bombing of Paster Graetz's home, Montgomery Mayor W. A. Gayle called it an inside job and claimed the attack was “just a publicity stunt to build up interest of the Negroes in their campaign . . . This latest bombing follows the usual pattern. It’s a strange coincidence that when interest appears to be flagging in the bus boycott something like this happens.” No one was arrested, charged, or convicted for the attack.