The Freedom Riders are indeed our heroes!

May 23rd, 2011 by andisites

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” Fifty years ago, the young people of this nation who had grown up with much of what lies behind us in terms of the struggle for civil rights, summoned the will, courage, and determination to do something about what was before them and generations to come. And do something they did!

Through their terrifying ordeal, the Freedom Riders remained true to the intent of the rides and to the principles of non-violence. What strength, what conviction it took for those young people!

Through their rides, the Freedom Riders called attention to the sorry state of civil rights that pervaded our nation. They let the world know that America was not living up to its promises – that all people have “inalienable rights” to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” The Freedom Riders, through their actions, mobilized a nation to write a new chapter in American history, one that included people of color.

Today more than a generation later, we celebrate their actions, their commitment to the future, their awesome and daring courage to do as Bobby Kennedy said, “see a wrong and try to right it.” This week at Jackson State we honor the Freedom Riders for their clarity in sight, their conviction that something had to be done, and their determination to make our country more worthy of honor and respect. Jackson State University thanks the Freedom Riders for what was within each of them and for making a difference for future generations of Americans.

The Freedom Riders are indeed our heroes!

Carolyn W. Meyers

Posted in News