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Freedom Riders leave Montgomery, arrive in Jackson and arrested
Previous entry May 24, 1961
Freedom Riders leave Montgomery, arrive in Jackson and arrested
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On May 24, 27 Freedom Riders planned to take two Greyhound buses from Montgomery to New Orleans, with a scheduled stop in Jackson, Mississippi. National Guard patrols were stationed in all three cities to protect the riders. When the Alabama National Guard escorted the Freedom Riders out of Montgomery on May 24, it was a national news event. The two buses were escorted by 16 highway patrol cars each containing three National Guardsmen and two highway patrolmen. The Freedom Rides were making their mark. The American people were now aware of CORE, and Northerners were reminded of the dark side of the southern "custom" of segregation. The Freedom Riders arrived in Jackson peacefully on May 24, with no rabid white mobs awaiting them. However, as the riders entered the whites-only waiting room, they immediately were steered by police into a paddy wagon, which drove them to jail. The next day, the Freedom Riders were tried and convicted for violating state law. At the trial, the prosecution accused the riders of trespassing. As defense attorney jack Young spoke in defense of the riders, the judge turned his back and looked at the wall. After Young finished, the judge immediately sentenced the activists to 60 days in the state penitentiary. The riders, with NAACP support, eventually would have their convictions overturned. Mean-while,. more Freedom Riders-an estimated 300-journeyed through southern states in 1961.

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