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Shocking the ConscienceA Reporter's Account of the Civil Rights Movement$
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Simeon Booker and Carol McCabe Booker

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781617037894

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781617037894.001.0001

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date: 21 October 2018

The Freedom Rides

The Freedom Rides

(p.180) 15 The Freedom Rides
Shocking the Conscience

Simeon Booker

University Press of Mississippi

Streams of Negroes moved from South to North, and from rural to urban communities, to showcase their potential to build powerful voting blocs. Yet Southern states continued to ignore federal laws and enforce their own Jim Crow codes. All over the South, particularly in college towns, blacks were conducting sit-ins at lunch counters. In 1961, Congress of Racial Equality’s James Farmer organized a Freedom Ride from Washington to New Orleans to protest discrimination in interstate bus transportation policies. In a 1941 railroad case, the Supreme Court had ruled that the 1887 Interstate Commerce Act prohibited discrimination by common carriers engaged in interstate commerce. In two other cases related to bus travel, the Supreme Court found discrimination that it said was unlawful. In this chapter, the author recounts his coverage of the Freedom Ride and the troubles experienced by black participants in Alabama and Birmingham, as well as their encounter with the Ku Klux Klan.

Keywords:   blacks, James Farmer, Freedom Ride, discrimination, Supreme Court, Interstate Commerce Act, interstate commerce, bus travel, Jet, Ku Klux Klan

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