Freedomways Reader: Prophets in Their Own Country

By Esther Cooper Jackson; Constance Pohl | Go to book overview
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A Freedom Rider Speaks His Mind, No. 2, 1961


The Supreme Court had ruled in 1961 that bus terminal restaurants could not discriminate against interstate travelers. The Freedom Riders set out to test the enforcement of the federal law in the terminals in the South. A member of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), Jimmy McDonald was in the first group of seven Black and six white Freedom Riders. Segregationists bombed and burned their bus when it reached Anniston, Alabama.

Civil Rights in the past seven years have become the rallying point of Negro students of the South. The sit-ins were just a prelude to the Freedom Rides. But what are these Freedom Rides, and why are they being employed at just this time?

The interstate Commerce Commission had, some time before the first such ride, declared that interstate travel should flow freely without anyone engaged in it having to suffer the humiliation of racial discrimination of any kind. Thus it is only fitting that a group of twenty-one persons should have left Washington on May 4, 1961, on an integrated bus ride through the South, merely to see if the dictum of the United States government was being adhered to or not. These


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Freedomways Reader: Prophets in Their Own Country
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