On this dayAug 25, 1956

Home of White Bus Boycott Supporter Bombed

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On the night of April 25, 1956, several sticks of dynamite were thrown into the yard of Pastor Robert Graetz’s Montgomery, Alabama, home. The dynamite exploded, breaking the home's front windows and damaging the front door.

Pastor Graetz, a young white minister serving the city’s primarily African American Trinity Lutheran Church, was also a member of the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA). The MIA was the community group that had planned and guided the city’s bus boycott waged 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 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and E.D. Nixon, former president of the local NAACP, had also been bombed. Both men were active boycott leaders.

After the bombing of Pastor Graetz's home, Montgomery Mayor W. A. Gayle claimed it was "an inside job" and “just a publicity stunt to build up interest of the Negroes in their campaign."

"This latest bombing follows the usual pattern," Mayor Gayle said. "It’s a strange coincidence that when interest appears to be flagging in the bus boycott something like this happens.” No one was ever arrested, charged, or convicted for the attack.

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