Orange County NC Website
1 <br /> ORANGE COUNTY <br /> BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS <br /> ACTION AGENDA ITEM ABSTRACT <br /> Meeting Date: May 4, 2021 <br /> Action Agenda <br /> Item No. 4-e <br /> SUBJECT: Proclamation Commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides <br /> DEPARTMENT: Board of Commissioners <br /> ATTACHMENT (S): INFORMATION CONTACT: <br /> Proclamation Laura Jensen, 245-2130 <br /> PURPOSE: To approve a proclamation commemorating the 60t" anniversary of the Freedom <br /> Rides. <br /> BACKGROUND: On May 4, 1961, thirteen black and white civil rights advocates boarded <br /> buses in Washington, DC, to begin a journey on interstate highways through Virginia, North <br /> Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, and Louisiana. The Freedom Riders sought to <br /> challenge the enforcement of the United States Supreme Court decisions in Morgan v. Virginia <br /> [1946] and Boynton v. Virginia [1960], which ruled that segregation in bathrooms, waiting rooms, <br /> lunch counters, and in interstate transportation facilities, including bus terminals, was <br /> unconstitutional. <br /> The Freedom Rides occurred during a time when the Civil Rights movement was gathering <br /> momentum, when African American in the South were routinely harassed and subjected to <br /> segregation by Jim Crow laws. The Congress of Racial Equality ("CORE") organized the <br /> Freedom Rides under the leadership of James Farmer. CORE sought application from diverse <br /> men and women of various ages from across the United States. Among the first thirteen <br /> selected was Reverend Benjamin Elton Cox, a retired minister at Pilgrim Congregation Church <br /> in High Point, North Carolina. The Honorable John Lewis, then 21, represented the Nashville <br /> Branch of CORE and was a member of the original thirteen Freedom Riders. The original froup <br /> of Freedom Riders prepared by completing a few days of training on role-playing, preparing how <br /> to respond to nonviolent ways to harassment. <br /> • May 4, 1961 - Greyhound and Trailways buses leave Washington, DC for New Orleans. <br /> John Lewis and another rider beaten in Rock Hill, South Carolina. <br /> • May 8, 1961 - Joseph Perkins is the first Freedom Rider to be arrested after sitting at a <br /> whites only shoe-shine stand in Charlotte, NC. John Lewis is assaulted in the <br /> Greyhound bus terminal of Rock Hill, SC, after attempting to enter the white waiting <br /> room with fellow Freedom Rider Al Bigelow. <br /> • May 12, 1961 — Freedom Riders warned of violence ahead by Martin Luther King. <br />