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 […]

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 […]

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). Sandra Nixon from Winter Institute on Vimeo. Her oral history may also be viewed here.   Interview Data Name of […]

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).   Robert Singleton from Winter Institute […]

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 […]

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). Marv Davidov from Winter Institute on Vimeo. His oral history may also […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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).   Joan Trumpower Mulholland from Winter Institute […]

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 […]

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).   Helen […]

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). Hellen O’Neal-McCray from Winter Institute on Vimeo. Her oral history may […]

McDew, Charles “Chuck”: Oral History

Charles “Chuck” McDew participated in the civil rights movement in many parts of the American South, including Mississippi. He was a pivotal movement activist in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). In this interview, he begins by discussing segregated seating […]

Person, Charles: Oral History

Charles Person participated in the Freedom Rides in 1961. He speaks about how the Freedom Riders tested the various facilities and accommodations in the bus stations. He also describes the violence in Anniston, Alabama, and how Walter Bergman lost his […]

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. At twenty-seven years old, he participated in the Freedom Rides in 1961. Gordon states that his Jewish heritage influenced his decision to become a freedom rider. He ponders […]