Friday, January 18, 2008

The Freedom Riders: an extraordinary group

(Blanca Castaneda was an eighth grader during the 2006-2007 school year.)
In the times of the Civil Rights movement many did extraordinary things for the cause,but there were those who stood out above all others. An example of these people would be the ones who began the Freedom Riders.
It all began when Tom Gaither, a field secretary of C.O.R.E.,also known as the Congress of Racial Equality, proposed the freedom rides.The idea of the freedom rides was a non-violent protest. Not only african american (or colored) people participated white people also helped out.This protest would lead through many of the southern states,including Rock Hill in which the Jail-No-Bail sit-ins took place.(
The jail-no-bail sit-ins were like the freedom rides, a non-violent protest that caused african-american to be arrested for participating in sit-ins at segregated diners. The protesters would then serve their time in jail other than paying the bail money that they certainly lacked. The bail money also provided police officers with more financial resources that they would later use to put the civil rights activist with a disadvantage caused by the wealth of the police officers and the poverty of the activists.(
The jail-no-bail protests ended a failure because people had to keep their jobs and support their families,but there were no way to do that sitting in jail cells.Although these sit-ins were a failure, they helped by giving the idea of the KKK, also known as the Ku Klux Klan disapproved of the Freedom Riders or anybody who was african american, or pro any african americans.The Freedom Riders never gave up and stuck trough with the rides although there were many people who were extremely racist surrounding them.(www.biology.clc)
Many people are never forgotten even long after they are gone. Many people do outstanding things that cause them to be remembered such as invent the television, or find the cure for an illness, but even though the riders didn't do either of these things they were a great accomplishment. They helped the world become atleast a little more aware of what they were fighting for. The Freedom Fiders were and showed much bravery for standing up for what they believed in, though many were against them.Though many people do not know about the freedom riders,they should be alert that they were great and brave people.
The thirteen original Freedom Fiders planned to ride through the following states,Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. There were seven african-american, and six white riders,they ranged from the age of forty to fifty. As this protest was spread and people began to hear of it more people joined and more younger people joined. .(
The riders arrived to Anniston, Alabama on Mother's Day of the year 1961.On this day, the Ku Klux Klan set the greyhound bus the riders were traveling in on fire.They held the door closed so the riders wouldn't be able to escape, and be burnt to ashes.After too much time an undercover police officer finally pulled out a gun on the klan, and saved the lives of thirteen innocent people. Maybe you could call it luck, but their luck quickly ended as they arrived to Birmingham, Alabama. A KKK mob awaited them, the crowd was being encouraged by Bull Conner. This sick man was the chief of the police in the city of Birmingham.The KKK hit the riders roughly with clubs, and fists. Although the FBI was aware of this horrendous attack in advance they did nothing to protect these people, and they certainly did nothing to enforce the law. This isn't the end of the rider's problems. The public bus drivers now are refusing to transport the riders anywhere. This lack of ignorance coming from the bus drivers caused the freedom riders to have to fly to New Orleans,Florida other than drive, or ride. Problems just seem to continue for these brave and Innocent people. There are threats of a bomb on the plane which causes an even bigger delay in the flight of the riders.This whole issue continues throughout the whole night. .( )
So many problems continue that the riders are considering the thought of just giving up and calling it a lost cause.Thankfully, the N.S.M. also known as the Nashville Student Movement stepped in and didn't let this protest fail, knowing the possible consequences of their actions,at this moment there are nine-teen freedom riders, six-teen of them are african-american and three of them are white. ( )
As things are looking up, they go right back down, because trouble awaits when the governor of Alabama promises Kennedy that he will insure the safety of the riders from Birmingham,Alabama to Montgomery, Alabama. Governor Patterson (the governor of Alabama) was a semi-decent man and kept his promise, but as soon as they arrived to the Montgomery city limits the highway patrol abandoned the freedom riders.At their arrival to the terminal hundreds of klansmen beat the riders with baseball bats, broken bottles,and lead pipes.If it wasn't for the Alabama public safety director Floyd Mann, John Lewis, Jim Zwerg, and William Barbee would have been murderd, and killers would nobody other than the KKK. From his hospital bed William Barbee said "As soon as we've recovered from this, we'll start again." Zwerg said "We are prepared to die. (www.biology.clc)
To honor the freedom riders one thousand two hundred people packed in aReverand Abernathy's first baptist church, on May twenty-first, but they were outnumbered by one thousand eight hundred people. There were three thousand white people outside the church harassing them. As the crowd gets wilder Governor Patterson sends the Alabama National Guard, and the police to calm them down. The National Guard aren't as good as they seem,as people try to exit the church peacefully the National Guard forces them to stay by threatening them with weapons, the riders and their supporters are forced into a church filled with tear gas the whole night. (Wright,Susan;the civil rights act of 1964)
As more riders arrived in Montgomery, Kennedy and the Alabama and Mississippi make a deal. The deal is the National Guard will protect the Freedom Riders and in return the Federal government will allow the states arrest the riders and in return Federal government will allow the states to arrest the riders, this way the bad media will end.(www.biology.clc)
When arriving at Jackson, the riders are arrested for using the "white only" bathrooms and lunch counters. While in jail the riders announced "Jail-no-bails", and stay in jail thirty-nine days. Another group of riders are arrested for sitting at white only lunch counters.( www.biology.clc)
During the months of June, July, and August, 300 activists were jailed in Jackson. Most Freedom Riders were put in Parchman Penitentiary, which is a prison farm and was described as "worse than slavery." Mississippi would not rest until breaking the riders spirit. The Freedom Riders wouldn't break. Then the riders began singing and wouldn't stop because their mattresses would be removed, making them sleep on concrete steel. Through the summer the riders were put through misery but still they would not break, so Mississippi released them. They were stronger than ever. The ICC also known as Interstate Commerce Commission issued a desegregation order, in which you could sit on the bus anywhere you wanted, there were no more separate drinking fountains, toilets or lunch counters, and the signs at the terminals would be removed.( )
Many wonder how Freedom Riders put up with such violence and hate, but I know for a fact that if you believe hard enough in something and with a little effort, you can change things that seem impossible, no matter what your physical appearance. are.( )

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