Thank you for creating this web site. In 1959 I became a member of Students for Integration on the University of Minnesota Campus in Minneapolis, and soon joined CORE, which I remained a member of until about 1969. During those years, we were following our conscious, in search for a way out of the dark and terrible Cold War repression of the 1950's. Who would have thought that at 60 we would be considered relics of history, and have young people wanting to know about our lives? I am so pleased to be a part of passing the stories about the work that we all did together on, especially to young people...so they might "carry it on".
I along with six others from Minnesota was a 1961 Freedom Rider. We were arrested in Jackson, Mississippi at the Greyhound Bus Depot for intentionally violating the Federal Transportation Act. I spent 90 days in the Hinds County Jail and Parchmen Penitentiary, and was one of a very few held longer than sixty days. After leaving prison, I went on to Monroe North Carolina to work for Robert Williams as the Black Power Movement was forming. There I was honored to meet and work also with James Forman. I somehow (most probably protected by my white skin,) just missed having my head busted open as James did during a police riot there. I learned about leadership from these men, and have been guided by the powerful experience of knowing them throughout my life.
My wife of 37 years and I now live in St. Paul, we have remained active throughout our lives working together against the Vietnam War, and in tenant and affordable housing struggles, as well as in the movements for a healthy environment, the family farm and Native American Treaty Rights. Today we are active in the struggle for affordable health care for all Americans. Through it all we have supported youth and tried to make ourselves available to them. They are our future. It is fearful to think that they may have to live through a new period of McCarthyism, but we are hopeful somehow that young people can pick up the "Freedom Banner" ...knowing that they have some rusty old shoulders to stand on.
Copyright © 2002, Robert Baum.