Did you see the “Freedom Riders”? It was extraordinary. Now imagine an eighth grade girl watching it in real time. I was shocked. I didn’t believe this could happen in the United States. But it did and I was watching people being brutalized. But I also saw people who were unwilling to let violence triumph over non-violence. Those people were my heroes and heroines. And, they were not only willing to take chances for what they believed in, they were smart. Alabama was a harsh nightmare, which is all the more poignant when we know that those folks wrote their wills before getting on the bus. Mississippi was a test of the Freedom Rider’s ability to out-think the officials of the state.
The plans for the Civil Rights Travel Course seem as fantastic to me as Cinderella going to the ball. The outline of the class inspires me. But the pieces I want to add are something else – that’s where the fantasy lies. I have contacted a newspaper in Anniston, Alabama, about an interview. I’m waiting for an answer. I have gotten an answer from the Atlanta Constitution Journal. The reporter said that, if the idea were approved, I might get an interview or get to write a column. I am waiting to hear from the Atlanta Inquirer. And I’ve contacted the Clarksdale, Mississippi newspaper. Monday I call them all to see where we are. Bettina, my pr expert, has her list of radio stations, newspapers and television stations in Atlanta and the other cities we will visit. Ever learn to write a press release? I know I hadn’t.