Montgomery native Mills Thornton, a retired history professor at the University of Michigan will present “The Freedom Riders Come to Alabama.” This presentation is in conjunction with the statewide Becoming Alabama initiative.
May 20th marks the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Rides, when racially integrated groups of volunteers attempted to ride interstate buses from Washington to New Orleans to test newly enacted court orders prohibiting segregation in bus seating and terminals. The riders were met with extreme violence in Alabama, first in Anniston, where the bus was attacked and set afire, and in Birmingham and Montgomery, where mobs attacked and savagely beat the riders.
This talk will describe the origins of the riots and will focus on their impact on the city of Montgomery. It will also seek to explain why the riots became the turning point in the history of race relations in Montgomery.
Those attending the talk are welcome to bring a sack lunch. Coffee and tea will be provided by the Friends of the Alabama Archives.
The program is made possible by the Friends of the Alabama Archives and a grant from the Alabama Humanities Foundation.
For more information, call 334-353-4726.