BC: Created May 18, 2011 by Drew Glaeser and Hawoon Han
FC: Freedom Rides First Hand Account Drew Glaeser and Hawoon Han 8-4
1: The Kennedy Administration had previously tried to ban interstate travel segregation, but Southern states disregarded these guidelines. In response, in May 1961, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) sent a group of seven African American and six white men, women and children from Washington D.C. on two public buses to the deep South. These courageous volunteers were called the Freedom Riders. Our actions were meant to challenge harsh Jim Crow Laws found in Southern states and test Supreme Court rulings.
2: The Freedom Riders faced little resistance in the upper South, but violence began when we entered Alabama. Ku Klux Klan members brutally beat us passengers while getting off buses in Birmingham, Alabama. In addition, segregationists firebombed our bus in Anniston, Alabama.
3: Governor John Patterson could not control the unrest and maintain order in Alabama so General Robert Kennedy said he would call for federal help and police escorts if problems got worse. Eventually, federal troops were called in when the Freedom Riders and 1500 supporters were trapped inside the First Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama by an angry mob.
4: The Freedom Riders entered Jackson, Mississippi safely with heavy police protection, but we were arrested “for our own protection,” and put in jail. Despite problems, the CORE continued to send Freedom Riders to the South because they believed letting violence end our trip would send the wrong message to Americans. Three hundred more people were arrested in Mississippi through the summer of 1961.
5: After months of dedication, the Freedom Riders won our struggle when President Kennedy got the Interstate Commerce Commission to ban interstate travel segregation. Our journey was completed to New Orleans on a plane protected by the Kennedy Administration. | Go to this site for personal interviews with original Freedom Riders including Sandra Nixon and Charles Person: http://www.outreach.olemiss.edu/Freedom_Riders/Resources/index.html#lewis
6: Citations "The Freedom Rides." WGBH Educational Foundation (2006): n. pag. Web. 19 May 2011.
7: Citations The grio. Web. 19 May 2011.