Thursday, December 23, 2021

Freedom Rides Museum

  Supreme Court cases in 1946 and 1960 ruled that segregated buses were unconstitutional but Southern states ignored the rulings.  In May 1961, the local laws were challenged by Freedom Riders, a mixed groups of young, old, southern, northern, black, white, students and preachers, who rode the buses together. The first Freedom Ride started in Washington DC but by the time the group reached Birmingham Alabama, there weren’t any bus drivers willing to continue to Montgomery. The riders boarded planes to their final destination of New Orleans.
   A group of students decided to continue the trip to Montgomery after President Kennedy forced Greyhound to supply a driver and a police escort. The riders were greeted at the Montgomery bus station by a mob with baseball bat and iron pipes. The escorting police disappeared and the local police didn’t stop the violence. The Alabama National Guard was called into protect the riders as they left town but they were all arrested at the next stop in Jackson, Mississippi.  The Freedom Rides continued through the summer of 1961 and led to subsequent civil rights actions including  registering southern black men and women to vote.
The Freedom Rides Museum is located in the old Montgomery bus station, the site of the beatings in 1961. The museum is small with displays about the students and the events that occurred in Montgomery and Jackson. Photographs are not permitted.

  The museum is accessible.

   Parking is available on the streets. Adams Ave is best because it’s level.  Museum  32.37457, -86.30896

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