History of the Civil Rights movement By Cristina Vignone
On December 20, 1958, Howard Law School student Bruce Boynton boarded a bus on his way home to Selma, Alabama for the Christmas holiday. During a break at bus terminal in Richmond, Virginia, Boynton entered a “whites only” restaurant where he was refused service, ordered to eat at an establishment for black travelers and then arrested after refusing to comply with the enforcement of segregation.
On January 6, 1959, Bonyton was found guilty of trespassing, was fined and then released. He consequently appealed the decision, contending “that his conviction violated the Interstate Commerce Act and the Equal Protection, Due Process and Commerce Clauses of the Federal Constitution.”
Boynton’s case was a strong one, and on October 12, 1960 it was brought before the Supreme Court. The judgment was reversed in December, with the Court holding that Boynton “had a federal right to remain in the white portion of the restaurant” as the Interstate Commerce Act “forbids any interstate common carrier by motor vehicle to subject any person to unjust discrimination.” Justice Hugo La Fayette Black delivered the majority opinion of the Court, that “[w]hen a bus carrier has volunteered to make terminal and restaurant facilities… available to its interstate passengers…the terminal and restaurant must perform these services without discriminations.”
In addition to prohibiting racial discrimination in interstate commerce, however, Boynton v. Virginia inspired the Freedom Rides movement. In the spring of 1961, black and white Americans rode together on Southern public transportation to challenge racial segregation. Boynton’s case, which is presented here, juxtaposes well with a documentary on Freedom Riders that analyzes the way in which ordinary people peacefully demonstrated for the civil rights cause.
Boynton v. Virginia:
Freedom Riders documentary:
 Louis H. Pollak, “The Supreme Court and the States: Reflections on Boynton v. Virginia,” California Law Review, Vol. 49, No. 1 (Mar., 1961), pp. 15-55. 18.
 Bonyton v. Virginia, 364 U.S. 454 (1960) http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=364&invol=454