Staring today and running through May 29 is a new California Museum exhibit recounting the lesser-known "freedom ride" that departed Los Angeles for Houston in August 1961.
The Freedom Rides involved groups of civil rights activists -- young and old, black and white -- traveling by bus, train and plane to the South to challenge segregation and Jim Crow laws. They were often met with angry mobs, arrests and beatings. The eleven Californians who boarded the train in Los Angeles were arrested while staging a sit-in at Houston's Union Station coffee shop. Police jailed the protesters and segregated them by race and gender. All the white men were beaten by other prisoners who were egged on by guards, according to a recent interview with one of the Riders. You can see historic photos at the Freedom Riders Foundation web site.
"Get on Board" exhibit features newspaper clips, photographs, political buttons, manuscripts and oral histories. It's presented in partnership with the California Legislative Black Caucus and the Mayme Clayton Library and Museum.
The California Museum for History, Women and the Arts
1020 O Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by the Associated Press.