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Oral History

Winonah Beamer, 1941-2018

Winonah Beamer was a Freedom Rider despite the fact that both her boyfriend and mother told her no, she couldn’t be one. But she was determined that way. Her boyfriend said no, Mississippi was too dangerous for her, as he headed out the door to Jackson, a Freedom Rider en route to getting arrested. So […]

Why I Rode: Henry Schwarzschild

Henry Schwarzschild was arrested with eight other Riders at the Trailways station in Jackson, Mississippi, on June 21, 1961. He was 35 years old. He died in 1996, at 70, several years before I started my project, so I never got to meet him, or even learn much about him. But preparing for the 50th […]

James Bevel: Why the Children Did Lead Us

A key organizer for King’s SCLC, James Bevel was one of the principal architects of the Birmingham Children’s Crusade, which put hundreds of school kids in the streets in 1963. One way or another he was also involved in most all the major campaigns in the 1960s, including the Freedom Rides, usually recruiting volunteers and […]

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