Freedom Rides

Freedom Rides

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  • 7 African American and 6 white civil rights activists were organized by CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) to form the original Freedom Riders, where they would leave Washington D.C. on May 4, 1961, on a Greyhound bus, and later some split onto a trailway bus.
  • The Riders would take trips to the South to test the 1960 Boynton v. Virginia decision that deemed segregation of interstate transportation facilities unconstitutional.
  • We´ll reach New Orleans Louisiana by May 17.
  • On May 14, 1961, the Greyhound bus was met by an angry mob of about 200 white people in Anniston Alabama. The mob followed them until the bus's tires blew out, where someone threw a bomb into the bus. When the riders escaped they were beaten by the mob. The trailway bus was also attacked at Birmingham Alabama because of the integrated group, but the attack brought attention to the Rider´s cause.
  • Join me to become a Freedom Rider.
  • When no one agreed to drive the Freedom Riders, the group was abandoned. But an activist from SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) Diana Nash organized another group of 10 students to continue the rides with a secure driver and protection from police escort. They left Birmingham on May 20 to continue the rides.
  • The new Freedom Riders brought violence from a white mob when their police escort abandoned them before arriving at Montgomery Alabama. Attorney General Kennedy sent federal marshals to stop the violence.
  • 2, 4, 6, 8, we don't wanna integrate!
  • The following night Martin Luther King Jr. led a service attended by Freedom Riders supporters. But a riot arose outside the church where Robert Kennedy summoned the federal marshals again.
  • On May 24, 1961, a group of Freedom Riders left for Jackson Mississippi, where they were greeted by many supporters. But when they attempted using white-only facilities they were arrested for trespassing. The judge sentenced them 30 days in jail while barely listening to the defense. The U.S. Supreme Court reversed this with the help of attorneys from the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People).
  • White Only
  • What are you doing here negro, I'm arresting you!
  • Because of these attacks and arrests, the Freedom Rider´s cause gained more attention, while more people joined the cause. The rides continued, and the Interstate Commerce Commission issued rules that stopped segregation in the transit terminals. This provides an example of how a nonviolent movement can be successful, while the Freedom Rides are significant because it contributed to the civil rights movement by prohibiting segregation in bus and train stations which is still effective today, and helping us reach an integrated America.
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