A resolution recognizing the 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides of 1961.

WHEREAS, fifty years ago, America was struggling to implement the ideals of justice and equality set forth in our founding, The Freedom Rides, organized in the spring of 1961, were an interracial, nonviolent effort to protest the practice of segregation; and

WHEREAS, the original Freedom Riders set out from Washington, D.C, on May 4, 1961, risking their lives in a time when “segregation was decreed by local and state laws throughout the South, despite federal prohibitions against the Jim Crow restrictions on the movements of black Americans”; and

WHERAS, the Freedom Riders Greyhound bus was firebombed in Anniston, Alabama, while another group of that first wave of riders was attacked in Birmingham, Alabama; and

WHEREAS, the original ride was called off due to excessive violence. However, from May 17-21, 1961, a total of 22 students, 21 from Nashville, brought the rides back to life by riding to Birmingham, Alabama and subsequently to Montgomery, Alabama where they were assaulted by a vicious mob of hundreds, and

WHEREAS, an additional 27 students and adults rode the first two buses to the dreaded destination of Jackson, Mississippi on May 24th, 13 were from Nashville, and

WHEREAS, Nashville became a major focal point for recruiting and training riders throughout the summer of 1961; and

WHEREAS, through their defiant journeys, the Freedom Riders sent a resounding message to the rest of America that desegregation was a moral imperative; creating a spirit that motivated and mobilized the next generation of civil rights leaders and inspired many of those involved to become lifelong activists, organizers, and leaders in the civil rights movement; and

WHEREAS, this momentous event calls upon all citizens of Nashville, both young and young-at-heart, to participate in ceremonies and activities that honor the Freedom Riders and all those who struggled for equal rights and the core human values of truth, love and non-violence; and

WHEREAS, it is fitting and proper that the Metropolitan Council recognize May 17, 2011, as the 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides, and to commemorate May 17th of each year of this historic occasion.


Section 1. The Metropolitan Council hereby goes on record as recognizing the 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides of 1961.

Section 2. The Metropolitan Council Office is directed to prepare a copy of this Resolution to be presented to survivors of the Freedom Rides.

Section 3. This Resolution shall take effect from and after its adoption, the welfare of The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County requiring it.

Sponsored by: Vivian Wilhoite, Frank Harrison, Walter Hunt, Megan Barry, Edith Taylor Langster, Sam Coleman, Parker Toler, Greg Adkins, Sean McGuire, Mike Jameson, Duane Dominy, Jerry Maynard, Rip Ryman, Charlie Tygard, Jim Forkum, Jamie Hollin, Buddy Baker, Anna Page, Sandra Moore, Tim Garrett, Kristine LaLonde, Eric Crafton, Phil Claiborne, Darren Jernigan, Carter Todd, Bo Mitchell, Michael Craddock, Erik Cole, Jim Gotto, Emily Evans, Lonnell Matthews, Karen Bennett, Robert Duvall, Bruce Stanley, Jim Hodge


Referred to: Rules & Confirmations Committee
Introduced: May 17, 2011
Adopted: May 17, 2011
Approved: May 20, 2011
By: mayor's signature