The Film Archives: Mississippi Freedom Riders- Civil Rights Movement

Source: The Film Archives-
Source: This piece was originally posted at FRS Daily View Plus

The Mississippi Freedom Riders, were young adults and civil rights activists and even volunteers, who had the gaul to march and ride for freedom and equal rights for African-Americans in 1961 and then several times after that in the 1960s. To challenge non-enforcement of the U.S. Supreme Court decisions Morgan v Virginia and Boynton V. Virginia. Which ruled that segregated public buses were unconstitutional. States like Virginia, Alabama, Mississippi, and others in the South, were not enforcing these Supreme Court decisions. Even though under law they were supposed to.

Keep in mind Dr. Martin Luther King’s civil rights movement, was already up and running by 1961, but it didn’t have the backing of the media and especially not Congress, or the Eisenhower Administration, or even the Kennedy Administration, by 1961, at least not officially. They were working what’s called backchannels and staying in touch with each other and the U.S. Administration working with Dr. King and his organization behind the scenes. But even if President Kennedy was privately in favor of civil and equal rights for all Americans in 1961, he certainly wasn’t making that position public yet. It’s not until 1963 after big bombing in Alabama where President John Kennedy comes out strongly in favor of civil rights laws in a prime time speech that the networks broadcast.

The civil rights marchers and even the Freedom Riders, were considered radical especially in the early 1960s especially pre-civil rights laws of the mid 1960s. Imagine that, radicals because they not only believed in individual freedom, but then would march for that, but take that even a step forward and march for civil rights and equal rights for all Americans. But that what life was like in the early 1960s which didn’t look much different culturally and politically as 1955. Where racial and ethnic minorities in America, were seen as second-class citizens. Even though under the U.S. Constitution they were entitled to the same rights, freedom, and responsibility as European-Americans and even European-American men and even Anglo-Saxons and Anglo-Saxon men.
The Film Archives: Mississippi Freedom Riders- Civil Rights Movement

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