Fifty years ago this week, on May 04, 1961, the first of many civil rights activists left Washington, D.C., for the segregated southern states on interstate buses. They were testing the Supreme Court decision Boynton vs. Virginia, which outlawed racial segregation in the restaurants and waiting rooms in terminals for public transportation that crossed state lines.
The Freedom Riders set out to challenge the status quo by riding public transportation in the South to challenge local laws or customs that enforced segregation. Upon arrival, many Riders were arrested for trespassing, unlawful assembly, and violating state and local Jim Crow laws. Beatings and mob violence against the Riders eventually called federal attention to the issue.
Our display highlights a part of our collection on segregation and civil rights. Feel free to check our catalog for more.