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Montgomery and the Freedom Riders

Montgomery, Alabama

Birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement

 

Montgomery Freedom Riders and their journey is highlighted in our show today.  Montgomery is known as the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement and 2021 marks the 60th anniversary of the Freedom Rides. Today’s show highlights the Freedom Riders who made the journey to Montgomery protesting segregated interstate transportation and the Greyhound bus terminal.

The Freedom Riders were groups of multi-generational, but mostly young students, who were White and African American civil rights activists. They traveled through the South to protest the segregated bus terminals and segregation in the interstate transportation system involving all forms of transportation.

During their journey they were met with violence as they tried to use “whites-only” restrooms and lunch counters at bus stations in Alabama, South Carolina and other Southern states. When they arrived in Montgomery, they were met with violence as angry protestors beat and terrorized the activists at the Greyhound Bus Station.

The 33 activist were welcomed into the home of Dr. Richard Harris where his 13 year old daughter along with her siblings witness the results of the day unfold. Her story is that of one who witnessed the Civil Rights Movement, front and center. And, the highlights of the Freedom Rides Museum, are part of the discussion on this show with Dorothy Walker, the museum director, sharing the historic events and the renovated 1961 Greyhound bus, which gives you a personal experience of stepping onto a Freedom Rides bus. Mayor Steven Reed starts us off with things to see and do around the city, everything from historic sites to delicious foods. Who better to inspire you to visit their city than the Mayor.  His love for Montgomery comes through as we talk about his beloved city, filled with extraordinary history.

Today’s show will enlighten you and also inspire you to continue the fight for equality wherever you see it in the world.

Freedom Rides
The renovated 1961 Greyhound Bus. Step onboard to hear in their own voices what the Freedom Riders thought and felt as they started their journey.  The is exhibited at the Freedom Rides Museum which is located in the historic Montgomery Greyhound Bus Station.

 

 

Montgomery Freedom Rides
What would the Freedom Riders have thought as they stepped onboard the Greyhound bus?

 

The renovated steps. When you visit the museum, take a step onboard and put yourself in their place. What would you feel and think starting this journey.

 

Freedom Riders rode regularly scheduled Greyhound and Trailways buses to exercise their constitutional rights as Americans. Buses were attacked, mobbed and also burned as the riders made their way through the South protesting segregation and discrimination.

 

Visit the Rosa Parks Museum.  A new, state-of-the-art museum depicting events that started the bus boycott and early Civil Rights movement. Exhibit of city bus from 1950s. Photo by Ray Martin

 

Montgomery
Throughout the city you will find sites highlighting events which happened during the Civil Rights Movement.

 

Montgomery Freedom Riders
Visit the Hank Willis Thomas sculpture.

 

Montgomery Freedom Rides
Visit the Civil Rights Center

 

Montgomery Freedom Rides
Take a tour of the Capital. It was the first capital of the Confederacy. 

 

Montgomery
When visiting enjoy the many restaurants offering a large selection of your favorite cuisine.

Take a seat and listen to the stories as we go back in history.  And, hear all the things to see and do as you  get ready to explore the city today. Montgomery holds a special place in history and today as a vibrant, and fascinating city for a vacation.

 

Thanks for listening.

Full recording of Dorothy Walker 

 

Full recording of Valda Harris Montgomery. 

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