Thelma Glass

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Thelma Glass
Thelma Glass
Thelma Glass
Thelma McWilliams

(1916-05-16)May 16, 1916
DiedJuly 24, 2012(2012-07-24) (aged 96)
Alma materAlabama State University, Columbia University
OccupationGeography professor
EmployerAlabama State University
Known forHelping organize the Montgomery Bus Boycott
Spouse(s)Arthur Glass

Thelma Glass (May 16, 1916 – July 24, 2012) was an American civil rights activist, noted for helping to organize the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955, and a professor of geography.[1]

Glass was born Thelma McWilliams in Mobile, Alabama, to a hotel cook and homemaker.[1] She graduated from Dunbar High School (Mobile) and attended Alabama State University and Columbia University.[1]

In 1955, after Rosa Parks' arrest, Glass and the other members of the Women's Political Council, called for a boycott of the Montgomery bus system, thus beginning the Montgomery Bus Boycott, a key action in the Civil Rights Movement.[1] Glass had joined the organization in 1947[2] and in 1955 was its secretary.[1] The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. joined in the protests as well and worked with her. She passed out fliers, alerted the community, and urged passengers to walk or car-pool.[3] Soon she noticed every bus that went by was empty of passengers. Although there was sometimes violent retaliation, the boycott continued and eventually the Supreme Court ruled that segregation on buses was unconstitutional and the boycott ended.[1]

She married Arthur Glass in 1942, and both taught geography at Alabama State University, where her husband was also a professor.[1] Glass died in 2012 at the age of 96.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Denise Grady, "Thelma Glass, Organizer of Alabama Bus Protests, Dies at 96" (Obituary), New York Times, July 28, 2012.
  2. ^ Adam Bernstein, "Thelma Glass, Alabama teacher at the forefront of civil rights activism, dies at 96", Washington Post, July 26, 2012.
  3. ^ Pippins, Erica. "Thelma Glass". The Montgomery Advertiser. Archived from the original on 16 April 2007. Retrieved 20 February 2017 – via Internet Archive.

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