During the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Montgomery Improvement Association combined a boycott with a successful constitutional challenge to bus segregation laws, producing more progress to desegregate the buses than either strategy could have brought about on its own. The Montgomery Improvement Association’s approach was a paradigm of the synergy between a social movement and social change litigation.
This Article argues for opportunities for synergy between social movements and social change litigation in three ways: 1) extending the time frame; 2) joining the forces of two separate organizations to produce change, unlike the single organization in Montgomery; and 3) creating an innovative new program that is different from either of the earlier separate strategies. The Article takes housing desegregation in metropolitan Chicago as a case study. As a result of close, ongoing collaboration between two organizations, substantially more low-income Black families in metropolitan Chicago secured affordable housing of their choice than in the decade before the two organizations joined forces and produced “delayed synergy.”
Leonard S. Rubinowitz and Michelle Shaw,
Delayed Synergy: Challenging Housing Discrimination in Chicago in the Streets and in the Courts,
Nw. J. L. & Soc. Pol'y.