1961 FREEDOM RIDERS HEADLINE

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This May 28, 1961 headline from The Mexia (Texas) Daily News says “RIDERS REMAIN IN JAIL RATHER THAN PAY FINES.”  Right under the headline is an article with the title “Kennedy says Negro Could Be President Within 30-40 Years.”  The Freedom Riders challenged the status quo by riding interstate buses in the South in mixed racial groups to challenge local laws or customs that enforced segregation in seating. The Freedom Rides, and the violent reactions they provoked, bolstered the credibility of the American Civil Rights Movement. They called national attention to the disregard for the federal law and the local violence used to enforce segregation in the southern United States. Police arrested riders for trespassing, unlawful assembly, and violating state and local Jim Crow laws, along with other alleged offenses, but they often first let white mobs attack them without intervention.

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