On May 17, 1961,10 members of the Nashville Student Movement boarded a bus from Nashville to Birmingham, Alabama, as part of the Freedom Rides. The riders were arrested in Alabama and then sent back to the Tennessee border in the middle of the night. However, they helped bolster the Civil Rights Movement as it continued to roll across the South.
In today’s episode, we explore the legacy of Nashville’s Freedom Riders with poets and a journalist. Then, we’re joined by a local Civil Rights activist to learn more about her participation in the sit-ins and the role that education plays in preserving the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement.
But first, WPLN enterprise reporter Damon Mitchell provides an update on rebuilding efforts and preparation for the first post-flood high school graduation in Waverly.
- Damon Mitchell, WPLN enterprise reporter
- Joshua Moore, host of Versify
- Destiny Birdsong, writer
- Saran “S-Wrap” Thompson, hip-hop and spoken word artist
- Professor Gloria McKissack, Civil Rights activist and educator
Quote to note:
“Unlike the Freedom Riders and so many others who had extensive training with Dr. [James] Lawson, I had maybe 15 minutes. … They just told us how to behave. They gave us a set of rules, to be polite, and when they try to drag you out, just become a sack of potatoes, don’t resist.”
— Gloria McKissack, on participating in her first sit-in at Wilson-Quick Pharmacy in 1962, several months after the Freedom Riders returned to Nashville
- Versify: Season 4 – Freedom Summer about the Freedom Riders
- Versify: Nashville’s Freedom Riders Are Now Revered, But It Took Decades For Their Stories To Be Told
- PBS: American Experience – Freedom Riders
- Google Earth: Mapping the Freedom Rides