- Wakefield Elementary School
Historic Freedom Riders Make Special Stop at Sherman High School
February is Black History Month, and to show appreciation to people that sacrificed so much during the Civil Rights movement, Sherman High School held a town hall meeting featuring members of the historical Freedom Riders.
Six individuals that courageously participated in Freedom Rides in the 1960s spent time sharing their experiences of fighting for civil rights with the junior class of Sherman High School. The panel shared stories of their heroic activism during the time of segregation in the United States and answered questions from students during a Q&A portion of the meeting.
During a volatile time in our nation's history, groups of extraordinary individuals of all races rode interstate buses into southern states in the early sixties. These rides were in protest of the inaction of enforcing the Supreme Court decision of Morgan v. Virginia, which ruled that segregated public buses were unconstitutional. Fred Anderson was a member of the Freedom Riders as a teen and admitted that he didn't realize the impact his involvement with the Freedom Riders would have on the nation.
"I think it was a huge trigger movement because the acts of the Freedom Riders put the struggles of African Americans on the front line and made it hard to ignore," Anderson expressed as he addressed the students in the audience.
Each year, the Freedom Riders visit various schools throughout the nation to share their story and memories of becoming a Freedom Rider. This year, their time has been spent reflecting on their historical memories with the student of SHS. Their ultimate goal is to help students realize that they also have the ability to be activists and make a change.
“We look forward to the visits and we look forward to the future,” Anderson expressed. “The way things are going now, we need to encourage this generation to help keep us moving forward and inspire others to change. That’s what this is about.”
Anderson, along with his fellow Freedom Riders, sat candidly in front of the students and talked about their experiences as African Americans during a time of segregation and their impact as members of the Civil Rights movement. SHS Junior Connor Jefferson listened to the stories and is grateful for the opportunity to hear the Freedom Riders’ stories and learn about their direct impact on our society.
“It’s amazing to have the ability to watch fascinating people share their history right before my eyes. The idea that they looked like normal people, but they caused such a big impact in our history is just so interesting," Jefferrson said. "The entire time, I was just thinking about what it would be like for me to go through the same hardships and barriers, and if I would’ve done the same.”