Wednesday, December 26, 2007
FREEDOM RIDES Promoted on a large scale by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) in 1961, the so-called Freedom Rides were organized attempts to test racial segregation barriers in interstate buses and terminals throughout the South. In most cases, these attempts were met with resistance and, more often than not, violence. The spectacle of white mobs attacking black and white Freedom Riders shocked most Americans and concurrently prodded the federal government into action. Attorney General Robert Kennedy immediately petitioned the Interstate Commerce Commission to outlaw racial segregation on all buses, trains and terminals engaged in interstate travel. The ruling was secured on September 22 and went into effect on November 1, 1961. Henceforth, passengers on interstate carriers were to be seated without regard to race, and such carriers could not use segregated terminals en route.