Cronology Freedom Rides from "The Freedom Ride" May 1961
Howard Zinn

See also PDF scan of the original document.

March 13 - Announcement CORE of Freedom Ride.

April 28 - CORE wrote to Pres. Kennedy about plans.

May 4 - Ride from Washington begins, arrive Richmond [VA].

May 7 - Arrive Danville [VA] where dispute over restaurant service settled quietly at Trailways.

May 8 - Arrival Charlotte [NC], arrest one Rider trespass bus terminal.

May 9 - Arrival Rock Hill SC, attack in Greyhound terminal.

May 10 - 2 riders arrested Winnsboro, SC, released after few hours.

May 12 - Arrived Augusta, GA. Used all facilities.

May 13 - Arrived Athens, GA. Used all facilities, on to Atlanta [GA], restaurant closed at Greyhound station.
Fifth Circuit directs lower court to "obliterate" distinction [between] intra-state, interstate passengers at Birmingham train terminal, where [there is] one interstate, one intrastate terminal.

May 14 (Sunday) - Some Riders served Trailways in Atlanta. Both groups leave for Birmingham, in Trailways & Greyhound buses.
D of J advise Birmingham police warnings of violence.
Greyhound bus met by mob in Anniston; passengers prevented from getting off. Tires slit, went flat six miles out. Men following in autos attempted to board, prevented by state policeman riding bus. Incendiary device thrown through window set fire to bus. Completely destroyed. All passengers removed, 12 admitted to hospital, mostly for smoke inhalation; later resumed ride to Birmingham.
Trailways bus also met mob Anniston. Driver ordered Negroes to rear. One Negro, two white Riders beaten.
At Birmingham, Riders attacked as they got off (Trailways bus), one required over 50 head stitches (must be Peck).
No one arrested either Anniston or Birmingham. No police on hand at Birmingham, none arrived until 10 minutes after fighting began.

May 15 (Monday) - Greyhound drivers refuse to go on to Montgomery. Riders took plane for New Orleans, get there late at night. [Alabama Governor] Patterson statement asks Riders get out of Alabama. Bobby [Attorney General Robert Kennedy] asks state provide police protection. Patterson agrees, then changes mind.

May 16 (Tuesday) - Riders in seclusion in New Orleans. In B'ham [Birmingham], 3 men arrested for attack of May 15.

May 17 (Wednesday) - Riders meet at church New Orleans, disband. Thus ends original CORE planned Ride. But Farmer, few others rejoin Ride in Montgomery.
Bus arrives B'ham from Nashville with students, incl. 2 whites. Police meet bus outskirts B'ham, arrest two Riders who refuse change seats. Two policemen on bus into B'ham, where crowd waiting. Drivers refuse to go on to Montgomery. Ten Riders (8 Negro, 2 white) plus five sympathizers taken into protective custody (from B'ham).

May 18 (Thursday) - Riders in jail; one white student released in custody of her father. 5 B'ham Negroes released. Atty-Gen K. [Attorney General Robert Kennedy] tries to reach Patterson phone, can't.

May 19 (Friday) - Two jailed students - 1 white, 1 Negro, get suspended fines, released. Remaining seven taken by [B'ham Police Chief Bull] Connor in early morning 120 miles to Tenn. line put out. They were back in B'ham in afternoon, where joined by 10 or so others, incl. 3 whites, tried to get bus to Montgomery, couldn't, spend night waiting room.
Ala. court enjoined CORE & its followers from more freedom rides. Patrolmen read order in incoming buses. Both Pres & AttyGen [President & Attorney General] tried to reach Patterson phone, couln't. Pres. talked with LtGov.
John Siegenthaler, adm. asst to AttyGen, conferred [in] Mont [Montgomery] with Gov.

May 20 (Saturday) - Gov. said wouldn't "escort these agitators. We stand firm on that position". 8:30 AM, after 18 hours waiting, Greyhound bus takes Riders to Mont. FBI told local police Mont. probability violence, were told local authority sufficient. On arrival, six Riders beaten, 3 severely. Newsmen attacked. Siegenthaler knocked unconscious. Police arrived in 10 minutes, took a while to disperse mob. At least 8 integrationists arrested.
AttyGen again tried to reach Gov. couldn't, ordered marshals, got fed. dist. court injunction against KKK others interfering with "peaceful interstate travel" Pres. Kennedy appealed to state, local officials for order.

May 21 (Sunday) - Fed. marshals continue to come in.
Sunday King Jr. cuts short speaking tour, flew to Mont. from Chi. to address mass meeting church. Mob outside, dispersed after rioting by fed. marshals, state patrol, with some aid local police. Negroes kept in church till a.m. Gov. declares martial law, National Guardsmen appear. Depty Atty-Gen White comes Mont. to take charge; Governor denounces fed. intervention in conference with White.
Ala. Associated Press Ass'n condemned "the breakdown of civilized rule" in Alabama, singles out Ala. Public Safety Director Floyd Mann as one person who did carry out duties.

May 22 (Monday) - 800 Nat'l Guardsmen on duty. More federal marshals come in. Atty-Gen said they would stay until things under control. Said Gov. not cooperating.
Fed. agents arrest fourmen charge firing bus Anniston.
More students arrive Montgomery from Nashville, New Orleans, NY.
White said arrest of Freedom Riders for violating Ala. injunction would not bring fed. intervention.

May 23 (Tuesday) - Montgomery quiet, with Nat'l Guardsmen patrolling. One person arrested in connection riots.
Gov. at press conference blames Sunday night riot on fed. marshals.
Press conference by King, Farmer, Albernathy, Diane Nash, John Lewis, said Ride would continue no matter what cost. Few more students arrive Montgomery.
[Mississippi] Gov. Barnett has Miss. Nat. Guard on stand-by alert.

May 24 (Wednesday) - Under Nat. Gd. escort, some Riders leave Mont. Trailways 7 AM. Before leaving, ate at bus terminal. at 11 AM, second bus took rest.
On arrival Jackson, 27 arrested trying to use restrooms, lunch counters, charge breach of peace, refusal to obey officer. No other disturbaces. In Mont. more Riders show up, incl. prof. & students from North.
In Fed. dist. court, D of J asks injunction prohibit heads of Mont. & B'ham police depts interfering insterstate travel, said all derelict in performing duties.
Bobby asks "cooling off period". SCLC exec. comm. says no.
Greyhound orders discip. action against Mont. employees who refused service food to Negroes.
LaGrange, GA. 5 men trying to obstruct bus with more Riders arrested.

May 25 (Thursday) - Rev. SS Seay, Sr. Negro leader, shot in wrist Mont. bullet passing car.
Latest group Riders arrested eating Trailways Mont. with Wyatt Walker, exec. dir. SCLC, Albernathy, Shuttlesworth. Albernathy & six Riders file suit fed. dist. court asking invalidation Ala. bus terminal seg. laws. D of J enters amicus curiae, asks speedy hearing.

May 26 (Friday) - M.L. King and others meeting in Atlanta announce "temporary lull but no cooling off" in Rides. B'ham & Mont. police heads under subpoena to produce records of their activities.
Northern prof. students post bail, released Mont. jail.
In Jackson, 27 convicted, $200, 60 days susp. sentence. Police dogs used to drive persons away front of courthouse.
Man arrested Rome, GA, for attack on TV reporter in B'ham riots. Exec-Secy NAACP dissented from plea for "cooling of".

May 27 (Saturday) - Six white teenagers arrested Mont. for wounding Rev. Seay, released in custody parents. Vice chairman ADA [Americans for Democratic Action] urges Freedom Riders disregard Bobby's cooling off plea.
Freedom Riders Coord. Comm. formed, Atlanta, of SCLC, CORE, Nashville Stud. Movement, SNCC. ML King explained exclusion NAACP on ground it was primarily "legalistic body".
5 of Jackson 27 released on bond; four took bail to stand trial New Orleans on earlier charges picketing downtown stores.

May 28 (Sunday) - 17 riders, from Mont. & Memphis, arrested Jackson in waiting room.

May 29 (Monday) - Trail begins fed. court Mont. on govt. complaint police chiefs.
Martial law ends Montgomery.
In Jackson, 19 of first group Riders put to work on prison farm, 3 others released appeal bond.
17 who arrived May 28 in Jackson convicted 60 days or $200, choose jail.
3 arrested LaGrange May 24 convicted.
Bobby asks ICC [Insterstate Commerce Commission] issue regulations.

Sep 22 - ICC ruling.

October 16 - Three major railroads serving South end segregation trans terminals.

November 1 - ICC went into effect. CORE teams tested, found B'ham, Anniston complied, not Mississipi or Louisiana. But not so in {UNCLEAR} localities.

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See Freedom Rides for background & more information.
See also Freedom Rides, 1961 for web links.

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