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There Are No Freedom Riders These Days

Last night in Twitter during a conversation with another person about the differences in todays Liberals compared to those of the 60’s, I had a terrible thought. I asked myself whether or not the Civil Rights Movement would have achieved the results it did in the 1960’s if the fight had been in the hands of today’s liberals? I’d like to think it would, but from what I read from Progressive websites, I’m not at all sure. It looks to me as if today’s Liberal thinks that when the going gets tough, they need to get going in another direction.

Freedom Riders were groups of people, both black and white who chose to test the laws giving equality to people of African American descent in the Deep South. Equality that was being denied them by racial attitudes that existed there.

From Wikipedia: “Freedom riders were civil rights activists that rode interstate buses into the segregated southern United States to test the United States Supreme Court decision Boynton v. Virginia (of 1960).[1] The first Freedom Ride left Washington, D.C., on May 4, 1961,[2] and was scheduled to arrive in New Orleans on May 17.[3]

Boynton v. Virginia had outlawed racial segregation in the restaurants and waiting rooms in terminals serving buses that crossed state lines. Five years prior to the Boynton ruling, the Interstate Commerce Commission had issued a ruling in Sarah Keys v. Carolina Coach Company that had explicitly denounced the Plessy v. Ferguson doctrine of separate but equal in interstate bus travel, but the ICC had failed to enforce its own ruling, and thus Jim Crow travel laws remained in force throughout the South.

The Freedom Riders set out to challenge this status quo by riding various forms of public transportation in the South to challenge local laws or customs that enforced segregation. The Freedom Rides, and the violent reactions they provoked, bolstered the credibility of the American Civil Rights Movement and called national attention to the violent disregard for the law that was used to enforce segregation in the southern United States. Riders were arrested for trespassing, unlawful assembly, and violating state and local Jim Crow laws, along with other alleged offenses.”

Beginning in Alabama, they ran into trouble. In Mississippi they were beaten with lead pipes and baseball bats. They were arrested and held in jails for unlawful assembly and in violation of civil rights interstate travel laws. In Mississippi they were held in the State Penitentiary’s Maximum Security Unit in just their underwear with no exercise and no mail. When they wouldn’t stop singing freedom songs, they took away their mattresses, toothbrushes and even the screens on the windows. When the cells became infested with mosquitos these people were hosed down with DDT in the middle of the night.  They exposed the true nature of life for African Americans in the Deep South to the rest of the United States where racism existed, but didn’t generate that level of violence. They did not give up, they kept on working towards civil rights for ALL Americans.

In 1961, I was 12 years old, and I sat in front of the TV in the safety of my home watching black people being hosed by firehoses, have dogs set on them. I have burned in my memory the image of a girl no older than I was at the time being swept down the street by the water from those firehoses. I remember children dying in church fires, The deaths of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. I remember the deaths of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner in Mississippi in 1964. I remember that the Freedom Riders were vilified as unpatriotic because they exposed the true nature of civil rights in America. How have we forgotten them?

I remember watching the tears of The Reverend Jessie Jackson the night that Barack Obama was elected to the Presidency of these United States and I cried with him. I thought that finally the dream that those Freedom Riders suffered for had come to fruition. That the barriers against people of African American descent had fallen. We were UNITED! Now I sit here three years later watching people who claim to be Liberals turn and run from that dream.

From the safety of their homes and offices, today’s Liberals do nothing more than run their fingers over keyboards denouncing President Obama for everything he does wrong in their eyes. They’re quick to judge and find fault. They’re vocal in their disillusionment when he fails to give them everything they want. No more is there the spirit of justice found in the hearts of the liberals who were willing to lay their lives on the line to create change. There are no more Freedom Riders willing to stand up for their beliefs. Today’s liberal is all talk and no action. They seem to have forgotten how many died for their right to speak and be heard.

3 Responses to There Are No Freedom Riders These Days

  1. Candida Pugh July 25, 2011 at 10:19 am

    It’s a pleasure to see interest in the 60s, particularly in the Civil Rights Movement. As a volunteer from that era, I sometimes despair of how little information seems to be “trickling down” and how little people under 45 seem to know about the Freedom Rides. I won’t flak my novel on your site but just say that there are many gripping stories, some going without readers. It’s sad since to forget history is of course to repeat it–something I fear we see happening today.

  2. Butterose April 17, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    Thanks Taz, I was a bit harsh, but I said what I felt.

  3. admin April 17, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    Another great article Butterose!!! You definitely have a way with words, as good as any journalist I’ve read. 😉

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