Freedom riders were non-violent civil rights activist made up of mostly African Americans & White Americans to fight against bus segregation in the south.
SegregationThe separation of whites from “persons of color” in public transportation and schools. Generally, anyone of ascertainable or strongly suspected black ancestry in any degree was for this purpose a “person of color”; C.O.R.ECongress Of Racial Equality was an interracial American organization established by James Farmer in 1942 to improve race relations and end discriminatory policies through direct-action projects. He founded CORE as a vehicle for the nonviolent approach to combating racial prejudice that was inspired by Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi. Ku Klux KlanEither of two distinct U.S. hate organizations that have employed terror in pursuit of their white supremacist agenda. One group was founded immediately after the Civil War and lasted until the 1870s; the other began in 1915 and has continued to the present. AmbushThe oldest, most primitive field tactics are those that rely on concealment and surprise CourageousThe quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery. AnnistonA City In Alabama DegradationThe act of degrading or the state of being degraded. Interstate Commerce CommissionA former independent federal agency that supervised and set rates for carriers that transported goods and people between states. DiscriminationThe act of discriminating. Journey of ReconciliationWas a form of non-violent direct action to challenge segregation laws on interstate buses in the Southern United States.
December 1st, 1955 Rosa Parks (a middle agetailor assistant from Montgomery, Alabama) refusedto give up her seat 2 a white man. Refusing to doso caused in her arrest. After her arrest Martin Luther King Jr. helpedorganize protest against bus segregation. It wasofficial blacks in Montgomery would refuse to ridethe buses until they were completely integrated . For the next 13 months the 17,000 blackscaught rides from the small car –owning blackpopulation of the city.
Transport segregation continued in some parts of theunited states. So in 1961 a civil rights group C.O.R.E beganto organize freedom rides. After 3 days of training in nonviolent techniques black &whites volunteered to sit next toeach other while they traveled through the deep south. The freedom riders were spit into 2 buses. They traveledin integrated seating & visited “white only” restaurants. When they reached ANNISTON on mothers day May14ne of the 2 buses were attacked by men armed withclubs, bricks, iron pipes and knives. The bus was bombedand the mob held the doors with the intent on buring theriders to death (they all survived).
The bus that Survived traveled to BirminghamAlabama they were also attacked by a huge mob.After being dragged off the bus the mob proceededon with beating them with baseball bats and leadpiping. The Ku Klux Klan hoped that those violenttreatment would stop other young people fromtaking part in Freedom Rides. But over the next 6 months time over a thousandpeople took part in Freedom Rides. Eventually the lostof revenue became too much & a decision by thesupreme court forced the Montgomery bus companyto accept integration.
Zwerg: As we were going from Birmingham to Montgomery, wed look out the windows and we were kind of overwhelmed with the show of force -- police cars with sub-machine guns attached to the backseats, planes going overhead... We had a real entourage accompanying us. Then, as we hit the city limits, it all just disappeared. As we pulled into the bus station a squad car pulled out -- a police squad car. The police later said they knew nothing about our coming, and they did not arrive until after 20 minutes of beatings had taken place. Later we discovered that the instigator of the violence was a police sergeant who took a day off and was a member of the Klan. They knew we were coming. It was a set-up. Q: You were attacked when you arrived at the bus station? Zwerg: The idea had been that cars from the community would meet us. Wed disperse into these cars, get out into the community, and avoid the possibility of violence. And the next morning we were to come back to the station and I would use the colored services and they would go to some of the white services -- the restroom, the water fountain, etc. And then youd get on the bus and go to the next city. It was meant to be as non-violent as possible, to avoid confrontation as much as possible.
Well, before we got off the bus, we looked out and saw the crowd. You could see things in their hands -- hammers, chains, pipes... there was some conversation about it. As we got off the bus, there was some anxiety. We started looking for the cars. But the mob had surrounded the bus station so there was no way cars could get in and we realized at that moment that we were going to get it. There was a fellow, a reporter, with an old boom mike and he was panning the crowd. And thats when this heavy-set fellow in a white T-shirt... he had a cigar as I remember... came out and grabbed the mike and jumped on it... just smashed it... basically telling the press, "Back off! You are not going to take any pictures of this. You better stay out or youre going to get it next." You could hear crowd yelling and of course a lot of them were, "Get the nigger-lover!" I was the only white guy there. I bowed my head and asked God to give me the strength and love that I would need, that I put my life in his hands, and to forgive them. And I had the most wonderful religious experience. I felt a presence as close to me as breath itself, if you will, that gave me peace knowing that whatever came, it was okay. Before I opened my eyes, I was grabbed. I was pulled over a railing and thrown to the ground. I remember trying to get up on all fours because you try to get back to your group. One of the things that I alluded to earlier was the strength we got from one another. To this day Im sure Im not the most nonviolent person in the world, but the strength of those people with me gave me strength beyond my own capabilities. Just as when we would see someone else being beaten, our hearts went to them and our strength went to them.