FREEDOM RIDERS: 1961 AND THE STRUGGLE FOR RACIAL JUSTICE BY RAYMOND ARSENAULT

FREEDOM RIDERS: 1961 AND THE STRUGGLE FOR RACIAL JUSTICE
FREEDOM RIDERS: 1961 AND THE STRUGGLE FOR RACIAL JUSTICE
Item# ISBN 978-0195136746
$19.95

The relationship between blacks and whites in North America had been a profound moral problem for at least a century before the United States itself was established. Slavery and general denigration of the humanity of blacks were deeply embedded in the culture by the time Gen. Washington assumed command of the Continental Army at Cambridge, Mass., in the late spring of 1775 and immediately issued an order to stop recruiting blacks. The problem was so thoroughly woven into the fabric of the nation that major advances in the fair treatment of blacks have occurred only once a century. The first period came in the 1780s and '90s, when northerners began applying revolutionary principle to daily life by abolishing slavery state by state. The second, of course, was the Civil War and Reconstruction period when the nation adopted the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments and Congress enacted strong civil rights legislation. The third period was the modern civil rights movement of the mid-20th century, and Raymond Arsenault's Freedom Riders focuses on one of its most pivotal struggles. The first rides began in Washington on May 4, 1961, with Farmer and some of his top staffers on board a Trailways bus headed for New Orleans. "A proper test of the Morgan decision required a careful seating plan," Arsenault writes, "and Farmer left nothing to chance. Each group made sure that one black Freedom Rider sat in a seat normally reserved for whites, that at least one interracial pair of Riders sat in adjoining seats, and that the remaining Riders scattered throughout the bus." One Rider on each bus adhered to the conventions of Jim Crow travel, thus ensuring that at least one Rider could avoid arrest and contact supporters. Farmer later recalled that the Riders "were prepared for anything, even death." This started an intense period of approximately 16 months when Freedom Rides were at the center of the nation's civil rights struggle. 690 Pgs Paperback