Born a slave in Wetumpka in 1833, Elijah Cook became a leader in Montgomery's African American community. Credited with helping to establish the city's first school for blacks in the basement of the Old Ship AME Zion Church in 1865, he also selected the site for Swayne College (later Booker T. Washington School) that opened in 1868. In 1887, he assisted in posting the $10,000 surety bond to relocate the Lincoln School of Marion (later Alabama State University) to Montgomery. After serving in the legislature from 1874 to 1876, he opened an undertaking firm across from city hall in the early 1880's.
City of Montgomery v. Rosa Parks
The trial for seamstress Rosa M. Parks was held on Monday 5, December, in the Recorder's Court of the City of Montgomery. (The room was later the site of meetings of the city council.) The trial began at 9:00 and continued for about 30 minutes. Parks and her attorney were accompanied by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rev. Ralph D. Abernathy, E. D. Nixon, and hundreds of interested blacks. Judge John B. Scott found Parks guilty of disorderly conduct and fined her $14. She lost on appeal on 22 February 1956, but the Parks case of 1955 ignited a one-day boycott of the city buses that eventually led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Under Browder v. Gayle, the boycott ended on 20 December 1956.