1944 October 18

Irene Morgan Convicted of Integrating Virginia Bus; Inspires Later Freedom Rides

 

Irene Morgan, an African-American woman, was convicted on this day of refusing to give up her seat on a segregated Trailways Bus in Virginia. On June 3, 1946, in an appeal of her conviction, the Supreme Court declared the Virginia law on segregated buses unconstitutional, in Morgan v. Commonwealth of Virginia. The Court, however, ruled that the law was unconstitutional under the Interstate Commerce Clause of the Constitution, and not the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Nonetheless, the decision was an important step for the Court on the road that led to Brown v. Board of Education, declaring segregated schools unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause on May 17, 1954.

Nonetheless, interstate bus travel remained racially segregated in practice. Morgan’s case inspired two freedom rides. The first, the Journey of Reconciliation, began on April 9, 1947, and challenged segregated bus travel in the Upper South. The second and more famous was the Freedom Ride that began on May 4, 1961, which challenged segregation in the Deep South, encountered extreme violence, and is one of the iconic events in the history of the civil rights movement.

Read about Morgan’s challenge: Raymond Arsenault, Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice (2006)

Learn more about Irene Morgan Kirkaldy at the Maryland Hall of Fame:
http://msa.maryland.gov/msa/educ/exhibits/womenshall/html/kirkaldy.html

Find a Day

Go
Abortion Rights ACLU african-americans Alice Paul anti-communism Anti-Communist Hysteria Birth Control Brown v. Board of Education Censorship CIA Civil Rights Civil Rights Act of 1964 Cold War Espionage Act FBI First Amendment Fourteenth Amendment freedom of speech Free Speech Gay Rights Hate Speech homosexuality Hoover, J. Edgar HUAC Japanese American Internment King, Dr. Martin Luther Ku Klux Klan Labor Unions Lesbian and Gay Rights Loyalty Oaths McCarthy, Sen. Joe New York Times Obscenity Police Misconduct Same-Sex Marriage Separation of Church and State Sex Discrimination Smith Act Spying Spying on Americans Vietnam War Voting Rights Voting Rights Act of 1965 War on Terror Watergate White House Women's Rights Women's Suffrage World War I World War II Relocation Camps

Topics

Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear your comments, criticisms and suggestions!