The Freedom Riders were civil rights activists who rode interstate buses into the segregated southern United States to test the United States Supreme Court decisions Boynton v. Virginia (1960) and Irene Morgan v. Commonwealth of Virginia (1946). The first Freedom Ride left Washington, D.C., on May 4, 1961, and was scheduled to arrive in New Orleans on May 17. www.pbs.org/
Why is this white man relevant to Black history? He was one of the Freedom Riders. In 1960, he was on a bus full of Freedom Riders who arrived in Montgomery Alabama where an angry white mob was waiting for them. He volunteered to get off the bus first and take the brunt of the mob's violence, which left him beaten and bloody. His name was James Zwerg.
Her name is Winonah Myers and she was a white student at the historically black Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio. Arrested for being a Freedom Rider, she stayed in Parchman for her full 6-month sentence, the only Freedom Rider to serve a full term. "I felt there should be a little historical footnote that for sitting next to a friend on the (bus), this was the punishment meted out," she added. "I didn't think it would be recorded if no one had done the time." said Myers, 69