MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) -It’s been 60 years since freedom riders boarded buses to integrate interstate travel. Saturday, the Freedom Rides Museum is hosting “MLK and the Freedom Rides: A 60th Anniversary Reflection.”
“You know, we think about it in the space of, you know, decades. But really, we’re not that far removed from a time period when this Freedom Rides Museum that’s in the old Greyhound bus station when people arrived here in 1961, this was a segregated facility,” said Dorothy Walker, Site Director for the Freedom Rides Museum. “And so we want to look back at how far we’ve come in terms of being able to travel as American citizens with the freedom to go about our daily lives. Particularly when we’re talking about interstate travel, particularly when we’re talking about bus travel, Greyhound buses when we’re talking about train travel, which was very common back then. And then also, a lot of people don’t know that airports were also segregated.”
This weekend will reflect on a time, Walker says, that is still important, still relevant to today’s issues. The Zoom link to Saturday’s event will be posted on the museum’s Facebook page. It starts at 10 a.m.
“The Freedom Rides is the perfect model for how we address some of the current things that we feel need addressing in our communities today. The Freedom Riders, a lot of them, were young people under the age of 30 years old. They were courageously putting themselves and their lives on the line. They were and then others came, you know, they were this was an integrated movement. So we had blacks and whites working together, men and women, we had young people as young as age 13, who was involved. One of the things that I hope people will take from this is that there’s a role for everyone,” Walker said.
That’s a message Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr was adamant about spreading.
“Dr. King was not on the bus. But he gave guidance and support to the Freedom Riders in their journey, and along their journey, and he came to Montgomery to support them after the attack on the Freedom Riders here at the bus station. So not everyone who plays a major role in helping to change things has to be out front,” explained Walker.