* Code added to make Google search more likely. Mississippi Civil Rights--One Man, One Story: Freedom Riders in 1961

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Freedom Riders in 1961

A brief explanation of the Freedom Rider movement:

In 1961, an interracial group of CORE members and college students from the North traveled by bus down South to test the effectiveness of a 1960 Supreme Court decision which prohibited racial segregation in public accommodations, such as rest rooms, waiting rooms, and restaurants, that catered to interstate travelers. When they traveled into Alabama, the Freedom Riders were attacked and badly beaten, and CORE called the ride off. Other Civil Rights activists—many of them young members of the Student NonViolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)—rushed to Alabama to continue the ride. They ran into trouble in Montgomery, Alabama, and the federal government had to send in U.S. marshals to protect the riders. The Freedom Rides continued into Mississippi, where they met with more resistance. By late August, 1961, more than 400 Freedom Riders had been arrested by the state of Mississippi. Images like this one of the burned bus, helped create sympathy for the non-violent Freedom Riders and their cause. This event drew national attention, especially from middle-class northerners who were shocked by the brutal violence they saw on television. As a result, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy provided police escorts for the riders, although this did not prevent further violence.

All of the above was "borrowed" from another spot on the internet. I'm certainly getting away from the original concept that this would be a blog about my father, but I'll eventually get back closer to home. I've found the identity of the preacher who was shot by the KKK after the FBI had been informed about a KKK hit list which included my dad, Father Law, this preacher and others. I'll write about that when I finally get some free time from all the work I'm doing at Millsaps.

One thing that is evident in everything I read about this era is that it was a dangerous time to go against the status quo. Not everyone one was shot, but the possibility existed. Not every home was bombed, but the possibility existed. Not every bus was burned, but the possibility existed. It really took courage and conviction to work for change and unfortunately, there are many black and white heroes from this era who have been totally forgotten. I think one of the problems is that most people just want to forget about this era as if it never happened, or many are reluctant to give credit to all because it would cut into the credit that they have taken for themselves.

No comments: