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John Lewis

Information about John Lewis

Wiki source

In 1961, Lewis became one of the 13 original Freedom Riders. They were seven whites and six blacks determined to ride from Washington, D. C. to New Orleans in an integrated fashion. At that time, several southern states enforced laws prohibiting black and white riders from sitting next to each other on public transportation. The Freedom Ride, originated by the Fellowship of Reconciliation and revived by James Farmer and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), was initiated to pressure the federal government to enforce the Supreme Court decision in Boynton v. Virginia (1960) that declared segregated interstate bus travel to be unconstitutional. The Freedom Rides also exposed the government's passivity towards violence against law-abiding citizens. The federal government had trusted the notoriously racist Alabama police to protect the Riders, but did nothing itself, except to have FBI agents take notes. The Kennedy Administration then called for a cooling-off period, with a moratorium on Freedom Rides.