NORTH TEXAS — Right now, Minister Crystal Bates, president of DFW Metro NAACP Metro, and others from the DFW area are journeying through different states to commemorate the Freedom Riders who fought for the desegregation of bus terminals 60 years ago. The Black Voters Matter’s Freedom Ride Tour is also promoting voting rights.
In 1961, the Black and white civil rights activists called Freedom Riders left Washington, D.C., aboard two Greyhound and Trailways buses bound for New Orleans. Ranging from 18 to 61, the Freedom Riders of differing backgrounds and occupations hailed from nine states and the District of Columbia. Upon reaching Anniston, Alabama, the Freedom Riders were met by a mob of white people who attacked them with rocks, baseball bats, and more.
One of the Freedom Riders who was assaulted was the late Congressman John Lewis, a 21-year-old theology student from the American Baptist Theological Seminary. The attack was so vicious that Lewis later said, “I thought I was going to die.”
Though the Freedom Riders endured vicious attacks in other places, they remained true to their code of nonviolence and refrained from engaging in physical altercations.
Said Minister Bates of their journey, “It has been a great privilege to remember those who fought for justice years ago and join others who are now seeking to improve the voting rights of Americans.”
Accompanying Minister Bates is her mother, Joyce Bates.
They began driving from New Orleans on Friday, June 18. Others in attendance who are also riding in cars and Trailways buses from the DFW area include Dionna Hardin of Black Voters Matter, OVOV (Our Voice is Our Vote), Tarrant County GOTV (Get Out the Vote), are coalition partners in GOTV efforts. Including DFW Metro, these four organizations work together with 32 other organizations in the North Texas area to Get Out the Vote. Tarrant County GOTV is represented by Leader Jonathan Morrison and member La’Nitra D. Johnson.
They then rode through Jackson, Miss.; Birmingham, Ala.; Nashville, Tenn.; Atlanta, Ga.; Columbia, S.C. and Raleigh, N.C., before arriving in Charleston, W. Va., Thursday, June 24. On Saturday, June 25, they arrived at the capitol in Richmond, Va., with their final destination being Washington, D.C., on Sunday, June 26.
In Richmond, Gina Hinojosa, Democratic Texas State House Representative for the 49th District, spoke to the Freedom Ride crowd at the capitol.
The current ride is titled Freedom Ride for Voting Rights as it champions Black voting power, D.C. statehood, and voting rights legislation.
#FreedomRide2021 # BlackVotersMatter # DFWMetroNAACP
The mission of DFW Metro Justice & Equality is to make a difference in our communities by encouraging the love for our neighbors of all colors, serving the disenfranchised impacted by disparities resulting from systemic oppression, and hosting conversations with the hope of supporting equality and justice for all.
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