Freedom Riders

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The Freedom Riders were a group of college students and leaders of various racial equality organizations, both blacks and whites, which tested the law of integration for public transportation. The law was instated, but Alabama especially didn’t follow it. The Freedom Riders rode buses into the cities to see if the townspeople accepted or declined the new law. They in turn ended up beating, pummeling, and chasing the riders out of town with the white mobs. The Freedom Riders violently fought the segregation of blacks and whites for public transportation systems, and their victory led to the integration of many other places and the making of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Freedom Riders started their trip from Washington D.C. on May 4th, 1961 and were to end their trip in New Orleans, Louisiana (Cozzens 1). They started off with thirteen original riders, seven of them being Negroes (Winkler 1). One member named James Peck was a CORE member and there from the very beginning. He was there in 1947 participating in the Journey of Reconciliation also (Powledge 254). While the riders were in Anniston, Alabama on their way to Birmingham, a white mob, including members of the Ku Klux Klan, stopped the bus and wouldn’t let the riders off (Powledge 255). The mob slashed the tires, but the bus got away until about six miles down the road. The mob caught up to the bus and surrounded it until Ell Cowling, a police officer, pulled out his gun and badge and the Klansman backed away. Someone from the mob had thrown a flaming device into a bus window and the bus went up in flames (Garrow 2). Two highway patrolmen fired their guns to scare the crowd and make them leave so the passengers could safely get off the bus. Only twelve riders were taken... ... middle of paper ... ...Civil Rights Act of 1964 was created. This act made racial discrimination in public places illegal, required employers to provide equal employment opportunities, and allowed projects involving federal funding to be cut of if there was evidence of discrimination. The Freedom Riders pulled through in the end after all the violence and injury that they were faced with. Their goal was to test the law of integration for public transportation systems and they succeeded. Many other good things came from their victory. Their will power and determination to follow through with the demonstration helped make the United States of America what it is today. Without the Freedom Rides, it may have been a lot longer before the government passed the law for integration. Also, the Deep South may have still been highly segregated today if it had not been for the rides in the 1960’s.

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