Former Freedom Rider helps local students fund historic trip - New York News

Former Freedom Rider helps local students fund historic trip

Posted: Updated:
DETROIT (myFOXDetroit.com) -

It was a painful moment in American history, marked with undaunted courage in the face of real fear.

Hundreds of Freedom Riders - black and white, male and female - risked their lives to travel together on interstate buses through the segregated South.

In 1961, these activists sought to challenge the non-enforcement of two U.S. Supreme Court rulings which stated segregated public buses were unconstitutional.

Many were beaten. Many more were sent to jail in Jackson, Mississippi.

One bus was firebombed.

Diane Nash was a leader in the movement. As a student at Fisk University in Nashville, she was elected coordinator of the Nashville Student Movement Ride, and recruited new riders.

This was no easy feat. The first wave of Riders met with a violent and premature ending. Two buses made their way into the deep South. One was stopped with a firebomb in Anniston, Alabama.

The second made it to Birmingham, where it was greeted by hundreds of rioters who savagely beat the early civil rights activists. Infamous Birmingham Police Chief Eugene "Bull" Connor let the rioters rain down unimpeded terror for 20 minutes before his officers intervened.

 That didn't stop Nash and her new recruits.

"I was afraid the whole time, and I think you had to be. It was dangerous," she told Fox 2 Sunday. "So if you had a good sense you would be afraid."

She said segregation was so degrading and humiliating that the alternative to doing what they did was to tolerate it.

"I could never imagine just tolerating that type of dehumanization," she said.

Nash shared her incredible story, and some of the lessons of non-violence, during an event Sunday night at Marygrove College in Detroit.

That gathering was also a fundraiser, helping pay for a bus trip through the South for 35 Michigan students.

They'll visit historic sites and retrace the Freedom Riders perilous journey.

The program Sunday, hosted by the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights, included musical performances, dinner and awards for five Metro Detroiters for their human rights activism.

Fox 2's Amy Lange served as the evening's emcee.

Click on the video player to hear from some of the young people who will take the Freedom Tour this June. They shared their thoughts on what it was like to meet Diane Nash, and why it's so important to preserve the legacy of the Freedom Riders.

Those students are still looking for financial help. You can contribute by calling 313-579-9071, or visit www.mchr.org.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Prayer service for Atlantic City casinos

    Prayer service for Atlantic City casinos

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 12:28 PM EDT2014-08-20 16:28:08 GMT
    Hundreds of workers who will lose their jobs at three Atlantic City casinos scheduled to close in the next few weeks are looking for some divine intervention. Employees of Revel, the Showboat and Trump Plaza will hold a rally Wednesday night followed by a prayer service at a nearby church.
    Hundreds of workers who will lose their jobs at three Atlantic City casinos scheduled to close in the next few weeks are looking for some divine intervention. Employees of Revel, the Showboat and Trump Plaza will hold a rally Wednesday night followed by a prayer service at a nearby church.
  • Ultimate lemonade stand in Flatiron District

    Ultimate lemonade stand in Flatiron District

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 9:39 AM EDT2014-08-20 13:39:26 GMT
    When 826 NYC, a nonprofit organization that fosters creative writing skills, asked children ages 9-12 to dream up the ultimate lemonade stand, the responses were huge. The winning project of  The Great Lemonation Imagination Collaboration was turned into a real lemonade stand complete with free lemonade in Manhattan's Flatiron District. The organization's members were also required to help run the stand that went up at Broadway and 23rd Street on Wednesday.
    When 826 NYC, a nonprofit organization that fosters creative writing skills, asked children ages 9-12 to dream up the ultimate lemonade stand, the responses were huge. The winning project of  The Great Lemonation Imagination Collaboration was turned into a real lemonade stand complete with free lemonade in Manhattan's Flatiron District. The organization's members were also required to help run the stand that went up at Broadway and 23rd Street on Wednesday.
  • Times Square characters: we don't work for free

    Times Square characters: we don't work for free

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 9:02 AM EDT2014-08-20 13:02:47 GMT
    Times Square characters want to be taken seriously and want their tips. The mostly immigrant workers are now called the Association of Artists United for a Smile and are fighting to protect their jobs, in light of a recent crackdown. Jorge Duran says he stands around for hours, sweating inside a costume, and says it is annoying and unfair if he poses for a good picture and gets nothing.
    Times Square characters want to be taken seriously and want their tips. The mostly immigrant workers are now called the Association of Artists United for a Smile and are fighting to protect their jobs, in light of a recent crackdown. Jorge Duran says he stands around for hours, sweating inside a costume, and says it is annoying and unfair if he poses for a good picture and gets nothing.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices