Browder v. Gayle, Class Action Lawsuit
On December 13, 1955, NAACP state field secretary W. C. Patton met with Montgomery branch president Robert L. Matthews, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Fred Gray to discuss the bus boycott. Rosa authorized the NAACP to process her case. Gray, the Montgomery Improvement Association’s chief counsel, agreed to represent her, with Thurgood Marshall, Robert L. Carter, and Clifford Durr advising. On February 1, 1956, Gray filed a federal lawsuit, Browder v. Gayle, on behalf of five female plaintiffs: Aurelia Browder, Susie McDonald, Jeanetta Reese, Claudette Colvin, and Mary Louise Smith. He omitted Rosa due to a technicality.