The Civil Rights Movement: Freedom Rides Essay

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During the Civil Rights Movement, African Americans sought to have their Constitutional Rights permitted. One form of protesting came forth in the form of the Freedom Rides. After slavery ended, many amendments and laws were created to ensure the rights of African Americans, but because of prejudices and racism, most of these were ignored. The Supreme Court's decision in Plessy v. Fergunson established "separate but equal" on interstate transportation in 1896, but in 1947 the Supreme Court found it unconstitutional. And although segregation was outlawed, Jim Crow laws still ruled the Deep South and “codified in law, sanctioned by the courts, and enforced by the ubiquitous threat of physical violence even more than legal reprisal" (Catsam…show more content…
This belief soon changed because women became the core of the Civil Rights Movement, especially Diane Nash. She was, “One of the leaders of the Nashville Movement, was one of the foremost figures when students took over the freedom rides after violence caused the original CORE group to call the project to an end in Birmingham" (93). Freedom Rides became influential in changing people’s mindsets because they noticed how the students involved and how they were treated. The students were carefully trained in nonviolence, a "technique require[d] that a participant not strike anyone, not even to save himself/herself or a group member from a beating" (Olds 18). Although the students used the passive approach, trouble still awaited them. Once in Montgomery Alabama, furious crowds surrounded them screaming "GIT them niggers! GIT them niggers!" (Lewis 158). They were attacked, beat and bled a great deal. Not only did the Freedom Riders get assaulted, but journalists who covered their stories were also targeted. Ultimately, "If you had a pencil or a pad, or a camera, you were in real trouble" (Morrison 29). Though successful, when Freedom Rides were first introduced, many civil rights leaders didn't want to take part of it, because of doubt concerning their overall effectiveness. Civil rights leaders believed Freedom Rides would hold up the Movement, but over time they became one of the largest and most supported movements during the

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