Governor Barbour

Jan. 17, 2011


Gov. Haley Barbour today formally announced celebrations beginning May 22, to commemorate the 50 anniversary of the Freedom Rides and Freedom Summer of 1961.

More than 165 of the original Freedom Riders who played pivotal roles in the Civil Rights Movement have been contacted, and about 125 are currently planning to attend events in Mississippi.

Gov. Barbour made the announcement at the Millsaps/Tougaloo Martin Luther King Celebration on the Millsaps College campus.

“On the holiday celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King’s birth and life of service, it is altogether fitting and proper we formally announce another historic celebration,” Gov. Barbour said. “This Spring will be 50 years since the first in a series of what would come to be known as Freedom Rides took place.  Starting in May, hundreds of people, mostly young, rode buses into Mississippi coming from all over the country, including the South and Mississippi itself.  Tougaloo served as their base of operations.”

The leadership team is headed by former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Reuben Anderson, who was a student at Tougaloo when the Freedom Riders headquartered there. 

Gov. Barbour noted “school integration did not put an end to racial problems or prejudice.  However, the 100-plus Freedom Riders participating in the 2011 celebration will find Mississippi an enormously changed state as to race relations.”

See excerpts from his remarks here.