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The Freedom Rides: Civil Disobedience At Its Finest

1035 words - 5 pages

Civil disobedience is fighting for what one believes in while acting nonviolently and fairly. Whether they’re up against powerful people, like the government or a big corporation, or up against a more local power, like a school board or a small business, people protest things that go against their beliefs everyday. Civil disobedience is a way of fighting for justice without attacking those who are for things that one finds unfair. This can be found constantly in the Civil Right’s Movement. During the Civil Rights Movement, many people decided to hold nonviolent protests, sit-ins, and freedom rides to fight for equality among races. A man by the name of John Lewis was the first student to be assaulted during the Freedom Rides, a movement where people rode buses into the segregated parts of the South. The Freedom Rides were a nonviolent way to test the Supreme Court’s ruling on segregation. John Lewis and the other freedom riders showed civil disobedience when they refrained from fighting the people who attacked them during the Freedom Rides, and when they continued to ride to protest segregation in the South.
The Freedom Rides were organized by the CORE, or Congress of Racial Equality. The CORE was founded in 1942, and the congress based their protests on Gandhi’s principle of nonviolent protests. In the early 1960s, the CORE decided to start a new kind of protest, where thirteen determined people would ride through the South in an effort to test the Supreme Court’s ruling, called the Irene Morgan Decision, which declared the segregation of bus and rail stations unconstitutional. The riders had to endure harsh training to be sure they would refuse to fight back, if trainee began to fight back, he would not be allowed to ride. The riders were strong and persistent in their fight for quality. Despite the danger they faced, "The black guys and girls were singing....They were so spirited and so unafraid. They were really prepared to risk their lives.” (Ackerberg) One of the reasons why the CORE’s act of civil disobedience was so affective is that the freedom riders were so passionate about the fight for equality they remained strong and did not fight back. (“The Freedom Riders Then and Now”)
After the CORE founded their team of highly trained freedom riders, they began the first Freedom Ride on May 4, 1961.The CORE planned to drive the two Freedom Ride buses from Washington through Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and finally into New Orleans, Louisiana. The riders were only taunted as they rode through Virginia and North Carolina, but once the buses passed into South Carolina, the riders were brutally beaten and their bus was burned. Eventually the riders were taken to New Orleans for their own safety. The Riders did not let this bump in the road discourage them, it did the exact opposite. The violence acts from the Southerners only ignited the fire in the riders’ hearts, making them more determined to end racial...

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