Oxford AASC: Photo Essay

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PHOTO ESSAY

The Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s

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Freedom Riders

Courtesy of the Florida State Archives.

Organized by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) in May 1961, two buses with black and white passengers set out on a "Freedom Ride" to challenge segregation in interstate travel and travel facilities in the South. Riders were attacked first in Anniston, Alabama, and later in Birmingham. Photos of the violence were seen all over the world. When CORE wanted to end the Freedom Ride, John Lewis and members of the Nashville Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) decided to continue. They were attacked again in Montgomery, Alabama. In response to the violence, civil rights organizations from all over the country began staging their own Freedom Rides. While this photograph is attributed to the 1950s, it is more likely a record of a later Freedom Ride. As a result of the Freedom Rides of 1961, President John F. Kennedy was forced (for the first time) to get involved in the Civil Rights Movement. In November of that year, the Interstate Commerce Commission prohibited segregated transportation facilities.

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