[history meme: 10 moments] — freedom rides
challenging the non-enforcement of the public transport desegregation laws, as pronounced by the boynton vs. virginia ruling, freedom riders were civil rights activists who rode buses into the heart of the racially segregated south in defiance of local jim crow laws and customs.
despite facing brutalization and mob violence in birmingham, anniston and montgomery, these rides successfully attracted national attention to the disregard for federal law, gruesome violence and racial discrimination used to enforce segregation policies in the south, and bolstered the wider civil rights movement.
many of the freedom riders, both black and white, and a great number of them students, were arrested, mobbed, jailed and, in some cases, hospitalized. however, despite the violence they had suffered, the riders were unwilling to stop, and new replacements appeared for every rider who could not continue.
”it was clear to me that if we allowed the Freedom Ride to stop at that point, just after so much violence had been inflicted, the message would have been sent that all you have to do to stop a nonviolent campaign is inflict massive violence,” said diane nash, who led the freedom rides from birmingham, alabama, to jackson, mississippi.