In 1961, Africian American and white volunteers, many of whom were college students traveled into the South to draw attention to its refusal to integrate bus terminals. These teams were called Freedom Riders.
1961 Freedom Riders Poster | "The Freedom Rides eventually encompassed a campaign that lasted seven months, involved over 400 African Americans and whites, and desegregated dozens of bus and train stations from Virginia to Texas. They galvanized every branch of the Civil Rights Movement, binding its past to its future, its tactics to its soul." – Diane McWhorter
Her name is Winonah Myers and she was a white student at the historically black Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio. Arrested for being a Freedom Rider, she stayed in Parchman for her full 6-month sentence, the only Freedom Rider to serve a full term. "I felt there should be a little historical footnote that for sitting next to a friend on the (bus), this was the punishment meted out," she added. "I didn't think it would be recorded if no one had done the time." said Myers, 69
May we never forget the courage and sacrifice of the Freedom Riders. Firebombed Freedom Ride bus in Annison, Alabama, on Mother's Day, May 14, 1961. Photo courtesy of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.
1961-MAY-20 ALABAMA FREEDOM RIDERS - As the Freedom Riders' bus arrived at the Montgomery station, a mob awaited them. The mob first went after reporters and cameramen, throwing them down on the ground and smashing their cameras. Then the mob turned on the Freedom Riders. Jim Zwerg, the only white male student among a group of Freedom Riders, stands bloody after he was beaten at the bus station. The police present did nothing. (AP Photo/Montgomery Advertiser)