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 be viewed here.

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 for participating in Freedom Rides and how he became involved, June, 1961
2:00-4:00 Because of David Martin (the “first hippie in Minnesota”) attended meeting on Freedom Rides organized by Zev Aelony; bomb threat at meeting
4:00-6:00 Greyhound Station in Minneapolis; travelled to Nashville, TN for orientation and then on to Jackson, MS; one of the first “Minnesota Beats [beatniks]”
6:00-8:00 Older rider in his group (29 years old); Bob Baum, Claire O’Connor also on ride; books he took with him for the trip; met Nelson and Marion Fulson in Nashville, Quaker couple
8:00-10:00 Housed by the Fulsons, who both taught at Fisk University; orientation led by Diane Nash and John Lewis
10:00-12:00 Taken one at a time to Greyhound station in Nashville and given instructions for ride
12:00-14:00 In Yazoo City, MS, white youth looking for Freedom Riders on bus; Emmett Till; currently teaches course on active nonviolence at St. Thomas University in St. Paul and teaches in justice and peace department as adjunct professor
14:00-16:00 Fear; arrival at Jackson, MS bus station and arrest by Captain Ray; arrest details
16:00-18:00 Interrogation; Jack Young, black attorney, met with Freedom Riders and discussed details of trial
18:00-20:00 Trial and conviction; Hinds County Jail
20:00-22:00 Support from Jackson’s black community; getting to know other Freedom Riders; transport to Parchman Penitentiary by Capt. Ray
22:00-24:00 Transport and reactions to Parchman
24:00-26:00 Parchman
26:00-28:00 Heath Rush cellmate in Parchman; service held by Freedom Riders in Parchman with Henry Thomas, Cordell Reagon singing
28:00-30:00 Reactions to situation
30:00-32:00 Sheriff Tyson of Hinds County Jail; treatment of prisoners
32:00-34:00 Punished for singing; religion vs. spirituality; treatment of prisoners
34:00-36:00 Minnesota group visited by their state’s Assistant Attorney General and shared truth about conditions treatment of SNCC members with Atty. General and Gladys Brooks of the Governor’s Human Rights Commission, in front of Sheriff Tyson
36:00-38:00 Never received any mail after telling Atty. Gen and Governor’s rep. about treatment; Parchman; Warden Fred Jones
38:00-40:00 Meeting with Warden; Parchman experiences
40:00-42:00 Parchman and release from Parchman
42:00-44:00 Post-release conversation with detective who interrogated him
44:00-46:00 Arrival in Minneapolis
46:00-48:00 Reasons for participating; return to Mississippi for arraignment; Stokely Carmichael; Bill Conslar, Jack _____, and Carson Hall, attorneys for Freedom Riders
48:00-50:00 Chicago Eight; American Radical Movement for Justice and Peace; arrest record
50:00-52:00 Integrated Peace Walk, 1963-64 (Georgia); travelled to Cuba 6 times; met Martin Luther King, Jr. a couple of times
52:00-54:00 History; social change; hopes for future of America; “revolutionary nonviolence”