Thursday, May 14, 2015

Freedom Rides

Beginning in May 1961 and continuing through the summer, the Freedom Rides, initiated by the Congress of Racial Equality and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee spread through the South.

The Freedom Rides were designed to test and encourage enforcement of a Supreme Court decision declaring segregation in interstate transportation illegal -- a direct challenge to the decades old Jim Crow laws and practices that segregated transportation throughout the South.

On May 14, 1961, a Greyhound bus was attacked outside Anniston, Alabama. With the collusion of local and state police and the local KKK, the bus was firebombed with the driver and passengers held inside, with the intention of killing them all. When that failed, the mob attempted to lynch the passengers, who had fled the bus, but they were prevented by warning shots by the police. The passengers were badly beaten, arrested, and jailed.


PBS documentary, Freedom Riders, in the American Experience series.

Wikipedia, Freedom Riders.

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