What Are Some Examples of Boycotts in American History?

The act of boycott has been a powerful tool throughout history to bring about change or protest against injustice. In America, there have been several significant boycotts that have shaped the country’s social and political landscape. Here are some examples of boycotts in American history:

Montgomery Bus Boycott

One of the most well-known boycotts in American history is the Montgomery Bus Boycott. It was a political and social protest against the policy of racial segregation on public transportation in Montgomery, Alabama.

The boycott began on December 5th, 1955, after Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a public bus to a white person. The African American community responded by boycotting the buses and walking instead. The boycott lasted for over a year until the Supreme Court ruled that segregation on public buses was unconstitutional.

United Farm Workers Grape Boycott

In 1965, Cesar Chavez founded the United Farm Workers (UFW) union to fight for better working conditions and wages for farmworkers. In 1968, UFW launched a nationwide grape boycott to protest against poor working conditions and low wages faced by grape pickers in California vineyards. The boycott lasted for five years until growers agreed to sign contracts with UFW.

LGBT Rights Boycotts

Boycotts have also played an important role in advocating for LGBT rights in America. In 1977, Anita Bryant launched a campaign called “Save Our Children” to repeal an anti-discrimination ordinance protecting gay people in Dade County, Florida. In response, gay rights activists launched a nationwide boycott of orange juice products endorsed by Bryant, who was also a spokesperson for Florida orange juice industry.

Target Boycott

In 2016, Target announced that it would allow transgender customers to use bathrooms and changing rooms that corresponded to their gender identity. In response, a conservative non-profit organization called American Family Association launched a boycott of Target and encouraged its supporters to stop shopping at Target stores.

NFL Boycott

In 2017, some NFL players started kneeling during the national anthem to protest against police brutality and racial inequality in America. President Trump criticized the protests and called for a boycott of the NFL until players stopped kneeling. The boycott sparked a nationwide debate over free speech and patriotism.


Boycotts have been an effective way for people to protest against injustice or bring about change in America. From the Montgomery Bus Boycott to LGBT rights boycotts, these examples demonstrate the power of collective action in achieving social and political change.