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146 BECOMING KING play in swaying the opinions of the nation, as numerous media sources covered his trial and the eventual integration of the city’s buses. King experienced the goodwill and assistance of some local whites, providing him evidence that change, redemption, and transformation of hearts was possible. He was emboldened by the intransigence of the city commis- sioners and their varied attempts to intimidate and dissuade both him and the MIA. Montgomery provided a unique challenge that he would have had a hard time finding elsewhere. No other local movement developed with the longevity and significance of Montgomery until the next decade. It also took a unique situation for a relative newcomer to the city to have the opportunity to be the leader of any organization, let alone a major civil rights protest. From the long view, King may have gained even more 65 from the boycott than the community did. As the year came to an end, King began planning for the future of the MIA. In December 1956, Liberation magazine dedicated its issue to the boycott. In an article titled “We Are Still Walking,” King noted future plans for the organization following the November 13 Supreme Court ruling. He also reflected on the past thirteen months of his life in a conversation with New York attorney Stanley Levison: “if anybody had asked me a year ago to head this movement, I tell you very honestly, that I would have run a mile to get away from it. I had no intention of being involved in this way.” Once the movement began and King realized the inspiration he provided for those sacrificing for the cause, he “realized that the choice leaves your own hands. The people expect you to give them leadership. You see them growing as they move into action, and then you know you no longer have a choice, you can’t decide whether to stay in it or get out of it, you must stay in it.” For the remaining days of his life, King stayed in the fight for civil rights, but the setting was rarely Montgomery.66

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