Freedom Rides

In 1961, a multi-racial group of activists sought to challenge the lack of enforcement of Boynton v. Virginia, which outlawed segregation in interstate transportation. The first group set out from Washington, DC, headed to New Orleans, and attempted to integrate buses and public accommodations at bus stops in the South. When their trip met with violent mobs and physical harm, hundreds of volunteers joined in a larger movement of Freedom Rides in the American South. Their actions led the Interstate Commerce Commission to formally end segregation in bus and railway stations.

Armstrong III, Thomas Madison: Oral History

Thomas Armstrong participated in the Freedom Rides in 1961. He says that one of Ross Barnett’s speeches encouraged him to participate in the Freedom Rides, because Barnett said that Mississippian’s were happy with the present conditions. The video was filmed for the documentary The Children Shall Lead (link).   Interview Data Name of Interviewee: Thomas Madison […]

Coahoma County Federated Council of Organizations (CCFCO)

Coahoma County Federated Council of Organizations (CCFCO) was an “organizing screen” in which people who could not risk NAACP involvement could participate. Source: Crossroads at Clarksdale: The Black Freedom Struggle in the Mississippi Delta after World War II by Francoise Nicole Hamlin

Nixon, Sandra: Oral History

Sandra Nixon participated in the Freedom Rides in 1961. This video was filmed for the documentary The Children Shall Lead (link). Interview Data Name of Interviewee: Sandra Nixon             Date: November, 2001 Place of Interview: Jackson, MS Time                         Topics/Names/Events Discussed 0:00-2:00 Desire Housing Project, New Orleans; Isaac Thomas; child protection services, New Orleans 2:00-4:00 Fergus & […]

Singleton, Robert: Oral History

Robert Singleton participated in the Freedom Rides in 1961. He describes being arrested in Jackson and the conditions in the city jail. The oral history was filmed for the documentary The Children Shall Lead (link). Interview Data Name of Interviewee: Dr. Robert Singleton Date: November 8, 2001 Place of Interview: Jackson, MS Time                         Topics/Names/Events Discussed 0:00-2:00 […]

Filner, Robert: Oral History

United States Representative Robert Filner participated in the Freedom Rides in 1961. He explains the conditions at the city jails, the county jails, and Parchman State Penitentiary in Mississippi. The oral history was filmed for the documentary The Children Shall Lead (link). Interview Data Name of Interviewee: Congressman Bob Fillner                        Date: November 10, 2001 Place […]

Davidov, Marv: Oral History

Marv Davidov participated in the Freedom Rides in 1961. He describes the conditions at Parchman State Penitentiary. The video was filmed for the documentary The Children Shall Lead (link). Interview Data Name of Interviewee: Marv Davidov Date: November 10, 2001 Place of Interview: Jackson, MS Time                         Topics/Names/Events Discussed 0:00-2:00 From Minneapolis, grew up in Detroit; reasons […]

Siegenthaler, John: Oral History

U.S. Attorney General’s Assistant John Siegenthaler observed the Freedom Rides in 1961. He speaks about the violence at Anniston, Alabama, and his attempt to convince Diane Nash to end the Freedom Rides on behalf of the federal government. He arrived in Montgomery before the Freedom Riders and attempted to prevent violence. In the mob in […]

Freedom Rides

In the summer of 1961, the Freedom Riders, a group of mostly young people, both black and white, risked their lives to challenge the system of segregation in interstate travel in the South. The purpose of the rides was “to test the Supreme Court’s ruling in Boynton v. Virginia (1960), which declared segregation in interstate […]

Lewis, John: Oral History

United States Representative John Lewis participated in the Freedom Rides in 1961. He speaks about the importance of nonviolence and public image for civil rights demonstrations. In the second clip, Lewis describes the violence in Montgomery. The video excerpts come from the documentary The Children Shall Lead (link). His oral history may also be viewed here.

Mulholland, Joan Trumpower: Oral History

Joan Trumpower Mulholland participated in the Freedom Rides in 1961. She describes the conditions at the prison in comparison to the jail. The video was filmed for the documentary The Children Shall Lead (link).   Interview Data Name of Interviewee: Joan Mulholland Name of Interviewer: April Date: November 10, 2001 Place of Interview: Jackson, MS   […]

Braun-Reinitz, Janet: Oral History

Mural artist Janet Braun-Reinitz participated in the Freedom Rides in 1961. She speaks about her involvement in the New York CORE chapter and her decision to become a Freedom Rider. Her Freedom Ride began in St. Louis, Missouri, and continued through Little Rock, Arkansas; Pine Bluff, Arkansas; Texarkana, Texas; Beaumont, Texas; Shreveport, Louisiana; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; […]

Singleton, Helen: Oral History

Helen Singleton participated in the Freedom Rides in 1961. She explains that Freedom Riders received education about nonviolence and describes one of her experiences on the bus. The video excerpts come from the documentary The Children Shall Lead (link).   Interview Data:  Name of Interviewee: Helen Singleton Date: November 8, 2001 Place of Interview: Jackson, MS […]

O’Neal-McCray, Helen: Oral History

Helen O’Neal-McCray participated in the Freedom Rides in 1961. She describes the jail conditions for the Freedom Riders. The video excerpts come from the documentary The Children Shall Lead (link). Interview Data Name of Interviewee: Hellen O’Neal McCray Date: November 10, 2001 Place of Interview: Jackson, MS   Time                         Topics/Names/Events Discussed 0:00-2:00 Clarksdale, MS; Yellow Springs, […]

McDew, Charles “Chuck”: Oral History

Charles “Chuck” McDew participated in the civil rights movement in many parts of the American South, including Mississippi.

Person, Charles: Oral History

Charles Person participated in the Freedom Rides in 1961.

Lafayette, Bernard: Oral History

Bernard Lafayette participated in the Freedom Rides in 1961.

Gordon, Albert: Oral History

Born in Belgium, Albert Gordon moved to the United States at age seven and considers himself an American. At twenty-seven years old, he participated in the Freedom Rides in 1961.