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Mothers’ Day in Alabama, 1961

May 9th, 2011 by isaac · No Comments

A passage from my sermon:

This past week was a historic week for people in America. This week, fifty years ago, in 1961, a group, assembled from all over the country, got on buses in Washington, D.C., and began their trip to the South. The Freedom Riders—that’s what they were called, “black and white, young and old, religious and secular, Northern and Southern.”[1] Their goal was to press the Southern states to adhere to a recent Supreme Court decision, Boynton v. Virginia (1960), which said that it was unconstitutional for states to maintain segregated waiting rooms, lunch counters, and restrooms for interstate travelers.[2] Wherever the buses made a stop, white Freedom Riders would use the facilities for blacks, and black Riders would use the “whites only” services.

The Freedom Riders weren’t naïve. They knew that they would be in for some trouble, especially as they would make their way through the Deep South. But they were committed to nonviolence. This is what James Farmer, one of the main organizers had to say in an interview right before they started their journey: he said,

If there is an arrest, we will accept that arrest… and if there is violence we will accept that violence without responding in kind… We will not pay fines because we feel that by paying money to a segregated state we would help it perpetuate segregation.[3]

For the rest of it, check here: Freedom Riders


Tags: sermons