« Stuff You Missed in History Class

The Freedom Riders: CORE's First Wave

2011-09-12 | 🔗

In 1961, buses and terminals in the South were illegally segregated. The Civil Rights group CORE sent riders to test the law, riding from D.C., to New Orleans. However, no one was prepared for the violence that waited in Alabama. Tune in to learn more.

Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
I got some good news for you. Losing weight just got easier, w job wait. Watchers, we imagined has a ground breaking new program called by W W that matches you with your very own customize weight loss plan. All you do is take the new. My w w personal assessment answer, simple questions about things like your eating habits and behaviors, to unlock your own plan that can make losing weight easier had on over to W W dotcom. That's w w dot com to join W W today, with a limited time, offer support for this package comes from see you now, a pike has created by Johnson and Johnson and the American Nurses Association, highlighting innovative in human centred solutions, driven by nurses, addressing today's most challenging healthcare problems hosted by nurse economist and health, TAT, specialist, China Butler over the decades and centuries. We ve been looking at your service at their work and their research and their science
haven't really been seeing them see you now available wherever you get pie, guests welcomes stuff. You missed in history class from house of works, dot com, alone will accrue to the camps, unfair and I'm doing a truck reporting, and you could be forgiven for thinking it lighting sixty one again with all of the big civil rights anniversaries that has been in the news that your fiftieth anniversary, true, most notably the fiftieth anniversary of the freedom rights. This past May, when more, four hundred people All ages, male female black white, different religions from all over the country decided
challenge the racial segregation of interstate buses. The freedom rights have been really well covered, their fear. There have been articles news stories to reunions of writers, one in Jackson, Mississippi one in Chicago in Scotland, with hosted by Oprah herself. There was fantastic american experience, documentary based on the book on the freedom writers by Raymond to now there have been a bad, then were since from the writers and national papers, but We do not want to let the May anniversary of the freedom rights stop us from doing a pike. on them in September, because September's off a really important date for the freedom rights. When change actually happened, when the interstate commerce coming and finally ruled that the sign segregating some blacks at birth and train facilities. to come down and actually back that ruling with a really have define for offenders, though, that ruling
validated the riders in their tactic, then that's worth pointing out before we into this too part episode on the freedom rights and before we get into how the ride started has even though today the riders clearly celebrated as civil rights heroes. Time. What they were doing was extremely controversial even within civil rights movement itself so know what they were, what they were setting out to do they just near they had to do it yet, but before we even get to the rides themselves, are story really starts and nineteen forty four with a woman named Irene Morgan Now everyone knows Rosa Parks right and her refusal to give up her best seat in the nineteen fifties, but it agreed earlier. Morgan refused to give up her see on a greyhound travelling through Virginia and Morgan who made world war. Two bomber planes for a plan for a living was coming home Baltimore after visiting her mother. So after a few
to move she kept to the sheriffs deputy who tried to take off the bus and later she said, I started to bite him, but he looked dirty so I can buy them. So all I could do claw and tear his clothes in that and other greatcoats her from her near Times Obituary, but Morgan was stood and went on that one hundred dollar fine for resisting arrest, but she refused to pay Ten dollar fine for violate Virginia law about segregated feeding, though it was after court. She went and eventually the and doubly cp took up her case and appealed to the Supreme Court. And in nineteen forty six, the court actually ruled in her favour and Morgan versus Virginia and just the gist of the ruling. Here feeding arrangements for the different races in interstate motor travel requires
single uniform rules to promote and protect national travel found simple enough. Basically, you can't make african Americans than in the back and white people sit in the front. Nobody should be giving up their feet and less so to an old person. or something like that, though it sounds simple, but it wasn't because southern states continued You thought the lie with segregated feeding February waiting rooms rest rounds, water fountains, though, eventually somebody to that. They needed to do something and actually test out this new law that was agreed organised by the Congress of racial equality or core and the fellowship conciliation they decided to test the new ruling by staging the journey of reconciliation through the Upper South, the upper Sal it's important here, especially when we get into the later freedom rights where they had in two
Burma in Mississippi in and things get a lot different back in eighteen, forty seven. They knew that wasn't an option rape. So basically, how does it worked, eight black men and eight white men would ride on interstate buses and trains and see if Morgan versus Virginia was alone action, or in name only. So there was a catch, though It would be nonviolent even if they were found twitter, arrests or beatings. The writers would not react so well, working, had been inspiration for ass. She was obviously not their nonviolent role model with her attended by the knowledge that I think that make them work in such an interesting character and the whole thing to which is such a famous nonviolence. movement that she is the inspiration for it. But for nonviolent inspiration. Leaders instead turned to Gandhi, and he actually was the inspiration for courts founding back in nineteen forty two, but the journey
conciliation. It sounds like it's gonna make waves sounds like a big deal, but it really didn't have that much of an impact. The writer the dead meat with violence. Three of them spent a month on a North Carolina chain gang after violating segregation rules in chapel hill, but the store wasn't really picked out by national media and folks, just weren't that interested so civil rights that the ride ultimately quote brought about little change and was soon forgotten by all, but a handful of nonviolent activists so decade goes by and then another in sixty some important things start to happen to inspire a new wave of freedom rights. One of those things is that case elected president and others Nashville citizens and negation at city, lunch counters there and also Supreme Court issues. Another decision related to interstate travel, this time, it's a boyfriend, this Virginia, which made any racial segregation you
go and interstate commerce nuts anything so not only should a black person be able to take any seat on the bus, he should also able to use any waiting room, restroom the counter and so on it. So there is a new Supreme Court decision in this momentum going from the national citizens and core in its director aims. Farmer, decide let's task this new boy inversely Virginia. So this time not only were the new riders keep that direct action movement of the students going. They would help promote or two on this national scale, since it was after all, well now and then, and doubly cp or snack or the as the Elsie, and that something HU, as we mentioned at the beginning that this once kind of controversial within the movement. That was something that added to the ambivalence or sometimes outright hostility directed the initial ride by much of the movement, but we ve gotta, give you a sense of,
how these initial core riders were pigs because they weren't you Willy nilly passengers on the birth they all had to be trained. They all had to come with recommendations even and again, they all kind of came from different sort of facets of if one member James Pack was from Manhattan and he had dissipated in the nineteen forties journey of reconciliation. So he has some experience with us Others were handpicked to maintain their nonviolent directive. So, in addition to having to get recommendations, Acerra said the young. Some them also had to get parental permission. so underwent careful training to resist that violent impulse, but really they only anticipated refusal of service and possibly may be around. You can see videos, though, of this training and it's pretty fascinating, to watch and really uncomfortable, because you know it is a simulated situation in these people actually I'll know each other. Well, there's them
playing antagonize are the woman playing the waitress than it is strange to see As you mentioned, they were from all different walks of life. They were all ages, all professions, students, retirees editors, the folk, thinner and were from the north or the MID West, with a few southern exceptions, including probably the most famous Jean Louis Use from Alabama. But that's something off to consider when we were mentioned earlier about the stability or ambivalence, within the movement that these people were large. or than ours were largely mid westerners and they were coming into the south to test these segregate. Jim Crow rules for the first riders. may for nineteen sixty wine. They were departing from Washington DC and, ultimately, the final destination was going to be neutral and which the birthright that was
take a while and they didn't really know what they would encounter along the way, but the buster, outlining its way through Virginia and North Carolina. There were thirteen riders, they were taking. greyhound aunt railways. Buses are two different lines: just testing out the whole range of the system and at first they really thought they expected stations Swift, reluctantly break from their segregationist policies, just while the writers where they are so go ahead and lead them set in the black sitting room or the white sitting room, the whatever race they weren't. Let them is the wrong restroom, whatever they were doing and then just let them be get on their backs and move on through town get out of their hair and presumably return to business as usual, which was full,
segregation, but by Charlotte North Carolina that wasn't what was happening. Any more people weren't, just letting it flight until they were gone, trouble started there were arrests and beatings and rock he'll South Carolina By May thirteenth, be writers finally made it land where they had this little get to go. sort of pause in the ride planned with Doktor Martin Luther king, and they were really hoping that when they got there, he would join in the cause of freedom writer with them, but instead heat very different attitude. He will he warned them. He told them tat. He heard bad news coming out of Alabama and they should see see reconsider continuing on an even questioning the wisdom of what they were doing in the first place, whether this was really helping. The movement fell was this pretty discouraging news to hear at their Atlanta reception and to make them worth James farmer. The leader of course, gets word that his
other has died and has to pull out for a few days to go home. Still, though, may Fourteenth mother's day, the leader less rider that off from Atlanta Birmingham Alabama on Greyhound try always buses that are leaving one hour apart and sure enough shortly after crossing the Alabama state line, one of the buses runs into trouble the greyhound hits a crowd of about two hundred men in Afghanistan. Yeah, that's all. Plans clansmen lies down in front of the bus, so other members of the mob can slash the tires and thus maneuvers out of town that its followed and hounded by a car. Then, finally, the tires go flat: the driver out check some and walked away. Just leave the people on the back and there is this really harrowing scene and documentary. Where passenger may Francis Moultrie here someone shouting, whereas the gas, whereas the gas he had a
recommend to you that documentary for seeing some of these freedom riders reflect on it and and say what they heard and why they experience, but the mom hacked the bus and throws a firebomb in through the back window and then blocked the door to prevent the people from off and also keep in mind there aren't freedom, writers, on this past, their regular passengers too, who are just trying to get to Birmingham or wherever and are caught up in this two things ultimately save the riders and those on affiliated bus passengers. The fuel tank explodes which makes them back away from the bath and then highway patrolman finally arrive, but not until the coffin poking passengers who have just escaped from the bus are beaten by the crowd. There's one catch, though, with this with this violent theme
photographs are taken and it becomes a major new story and they go worldwide. They had not just a national news story becomes worldwide news, something tat all happening in the United States, but meanwhile that second, ass the still chugging on toward Birmingham yeah. Where little did they know the city's commissioner pub safety bore. Connor, has made a deal with the K K, K, he'll is that when the bus comes to town, the clan will get fifteen minutes without police interference to do whatever they want the people in the back Arrests no trouble at all there's another catch to this to the FBI had an informant and the clan, and he knew the plan to attack the bus J Edgar it didn't report the mobs plans to Attorney General Robert Kennedy, the informant, even protest.
Hey did when the mob attacked and beat the writers as they came into the station. We were gonna talk about that a little more in the part two of this episode in and some of the legal battles that ensued, but just like an This then photographers get pictures of this Maude attacking the passengers. Coming Atlanta, and this news makes international headlines too. It is very disturbing to people in it something that the federal, illustration really can ignore. So Jim Pack, who has been surely in charge than schemes farmer left makes the call to continue the right from the hospital. He has been severely minutes Denoting here too, that a lot of white riders, would be targeted, initially sort of as betrayers to their raised by the mob. So Jim Pack
really really bad off. Pictures of him are disturbing to see by. He said that they felt quote. They must not surrender to violate the let's, not here there is a problem. Now, like I mean that's very noble, brave thing today, at a time Tell the ride, but there's a problem. None of that ivory out of Birmingham are willing to take them. Nobody wants to risk it. Nobody wants to risk being on firebomb bus or attacked by a mob and and dragged down with her If only I mean you can hardly blame them, but they finally decide that the ride has to end, though, to New Orleans instead, but even proves to be quite difficult. The mob follows them. A damn thing called and on their plane, and it seems that there are stuck in Alabama indefinitely. You can't get out of the Birmingham Airport, though, like we fed by this further It is really have to get involved with this story all over the world papers and the poor beast freedom, riders stuck in the airport, they can't let
he's got anywhere so John C and dollar, who is the assistant to Attorney General Robert Kennedy? Arranged the writers fly, it an escort them to New Orleans. There there met by state police at the plane who protect them, but also cursed them as they walk to the terminal, and that ends the right. It's over the Kennedy think that hopefully it's all over, they can get back to international pursuits, it's not because there is another wave setting out from now. Spell the students in the national student, Met realise that they couldn't let course attempt and their end in violence, and the like if that movement, Diane NASH, who was a student in. National Movement told a Birmingham, Reverend quote: if they stop us with violence, the movement is dead, fell thoroughly. Cliffhanger
Phyllis upside down. The next episode. We're gonna talk a little bit more about that national movement, as it picks up the baton in Its continue in Alabama in Mississippi plays Hardball with its state penitentiary. So just two give you a little teaser there that we're done with us here today. If you have any ideas to send us for podcast or any thoughts on this. When that you want to share where industry podcast house efforts, dot com- or you can pick us up on Facebook or on twitter at Mister History- and we also have an article about the civil rights me, what about we're gonna be recommending this one quite a bit in the next few up on freedom rights, but it is called how the civil rights movement worked and even find it by searching for civil right potter, Homepage, W W W Dot, housetop works, dot, com. retorted check out our new video podcast stuff from the Future Joint House
staff, as we explore the most promising and perplexing possibilities of tomorrow. The house that I find it has arrived Download it today- and I do this episode- is brought to you by mulatto cookies works
arms that long, then yoga class is just not in the cards. So maybe a cookie is peppered farm. Olano believes you should make some time for yourself once in a while. I know I have a particular space in my sewing room that I like to just take a few minutes. Every day I sit there. I think about things, it's kind of like meditation and munching at the same time being it that yummy beautiful cookie flavour, it makes it luxurious and delightful and I always feel recharge. Mulatto cookies are truly a treat worthy of your me time, their delicate and crispy, with luxuriously rich chocolate in the middle. You really want to keep these just for you, so remember to save something for yourself with peppered farm Olano This is Danny. Shapiro post of the head had cast family secrets, I'm here to tell you that the new season of my show starts February Sex. I hope you'll join us for some time,
credible conversations about family identity and what happens to both when the secrets that have been kept from us and the secrets we keep finally come to light. listen and subscribe honey. I aren't radio out apple podcast or ever you listen to your favorite broadcasts.