1962 September 11

Four Clergy Sue Mississippi Police Over Civil Rights Arrests


Three white and one African-American Episcopal priests filed a lawsuit on this day over their arrest for conducting a prayer pilgrimage for civil rights in Jackson, Mississippi, in September 1961. The four priests were arrested for breach of the peace when they entered the segregated white waiting room at the Jackson bus station. The arrests were part of the Freedom Ride challenging racial segregation in interstate bus travel in the South that began on May 4, 1961.

The original plan for the Freedom Ride was halted in the face of violence, including the famous burning of one of the buses in Alabama on May 14, 1961. African-American students in Nashville, Tennessee, veterans of the sit-in movement there, refused to capitulate to violence, and initiated a new wave of freedom rides that continued through the summer and into the fall. They also successfully mobilized additional freedom riders from around the country. The arrests on this day were part of that second wave of the freedom rides.

Learn more about the Freedom Rides and Mississippi: Raymond Arsenault, Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice (2006)

Watch a documentary on the Freedom Ridehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66_kqSG6aHI

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