WSIU TV 8 | WUSI TV 16 | WSIU 91.9FM | WUSI 90.3FM | WVSI 88.9FM | WSIU HD 91.9FM
They came from different backgrounds, but Genevieve Houghton and Thomas Madison Armstrong III risked their lives for the cause for civil rights by joining the Freedom Rides that tested the Jim Crow laws of the South in the spring and summer of 1961. Armstrong and Houghton described their experiences to WSIU's Jak Tichenor prior to a local preview screening of the new documentary film American Experience: Freedom Riders, in which both are featured. The screening was held at the Varsity Center for the Arts in Carbondale on April 2, 2011.
Houghton, who now lives in Carbondale, was field secretary for the Congress for Racial Equality when she became one of the original group of 13 whites and African Americans who boarded a pair of buses in Washington, D.C. bound for the South. Their goal was to challenge local laws and customs that enforced racial segregation in public transportation in the South, despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling banning the practice. Houghton's Freedom Ride ended violently in Anniston, Alabama when her bus was firebombed by a white mob and many of the riders were savagely beaten.
Armstrong, who now lives in Naperville, Illinois, was a student at Tougaloo College near Jackson, Mississippi and had been active in the Civil Rights movement prior to the Freedom Rides. When the first Freedom Ride was aborted by the violence in Alabama, Armstrong joined hundreds of college students and others who organized their own Freedom Rides to take over where the first group had been halted.
To view the video on the page, installation of the Silverlight plug-in from Microsoft. The direct link to the video is available. Further, Macintosh users will need the Flip4Mac software installed to play Windows Media files.
WSIU and its parent institution, Southern Illinois University, is an equal opportunity employer and will not
discriminate against any person on the basis of race, religion, national
origin or sex in violation of Title VII.
The most recent WSIU EEO report, 2013 Community Impact Report and WSIU Financial Audit are available for review.
The online version of the FCC WSIU Public File is available here.
Copyright 2014 -- Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees -- WSIU Public Broadcasting -- All Rights Reserved