The Freedom Rides and Alabama: A Guide to Key Events and Places, Context, and Impact

The Freedom Rides and Alabama: A Guide to Key Events and Places, Context, and Impact

Noelle Matteson

Language: English

Pages: 90

ISBN: 1603061061

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

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riders were unable to hold back tears as they fell into their comrades’ arms. Reinforcements Upon returning to Nashville from his job interview, John Lewis followed the news of the attacks and the rides’ cancellation. In his mind, stopping the rides contradicted the principles of nonviolence. “Truth cannot be abandoned,” he later wrote, “even in the face of pain and injury, even in the face of death.” Diane Nash agreed that it was more dangerous to stop than to continue and declared,

briefcase. They shoved him to the ground, trampled on his torso and head, and pulled him up again to pin his hands behind his back and continue the assault. The crowd beat him into unconsciousness, but even then they put Zwerg’s head between someone’s knees and punched him in the face. Women struck him with bags and held up children to claw his face. The intense focus on Zwerg gave other riders a chance to escape. Allen Cason, Fred Leonard, and Bernard Lafayette jumped over a retaining wall

rulings, but enforcement of them had to come from federal, state, and local governments. The Freedom Riders were soon to illuminate that conflict. 3 The 1961 Freedom Rides CORE national director James Farmer knew that only something drastic would make the federal government overcome its fear of political backlash and enforce its equal rights laws. He wanted to “make it more dangerous politically for the federal government not to enforce federal law than it would be for them to

day. The other riders continued on, and, as expected, the further South they went, the more opposition they met. In Rock Hill, South Carolina, a group of young white men were playing pinball machines and loitering around the station. Two stopped John Lewis from entering a white waiting room. As he had been taught, Lewis cited the Boynton v. Virginia decision. They responded by punching him in the face and kicking him. Genevieve Freeman and Lewis’s seatmate Albert Bigelow stepped in to

Martin Luther King Jr. in Atlanta on Saturday, May 13. They then decided to split into two groups to test both the Greyhound and Trailways lines. King had his doubts. He privately told a reporter who was covering the event, “You will never make it through Alabama.” 4 The Rides Reach Alabama By now, awareness of the rides was spreading and publicity was building. Support for the rides was mixed even within the civil rights community. While speaking at a race-relations

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