A prayer for reconciliation: Remembering the Freedom Riders Rev. Alberta McCrory, the mayor of Hobson City, delivered this invocation Wednesday night at a reception honoring the Freedom Riders, a group of civil rights heroes who traveled to the South on buses to challenge Jim Crow segregation laws.
Anniston bus murals unveiled “We talk about Martin Luther King Day, we do service activities, but I’m not sure we have the full understanding of what happened here,” said Rachael DeMarce, a member of the Blackfeet tribe born and raised on the Blackfeet reservation in Montana. (Editor's note: This article is a somewhat longer version of the one that appears in the March 13 print edition of The Star.)
Bus burner's son takes a different path Richard Couch is in the same line of work as Atticus Finch. It's a world away from the path chosen by his father, who did a year's probation for his role in the burning of the Freedom Riders bus.
May 11, 2011 | | 60 |
Tim Lockette email@example.comAnniston Star
Accepting responsibility in Anniston Jewish people all over the world recently remembered the Exodus of our ancestors from slavery in Egypt. Central to this major Jewish Holy Season is a ceremony in the home in which the family elder narrates the story of the Exodus and enjoins each one present to remember it as if he or she were personally liberated.
May 13, 2011 | | 14 |
Daniel E. Spector Special to The StarAnniston Star
A story and its audience: Honor city’s civil-rights history Anniston is deserving of its spot on Alabama’s Civil Rights Trail, though its status may never equal that of Birmingham and Montgomery. The reasons are obvious — from Bull Connor to Rosa Parks, from Kelly Ingram Park to Martin Luther King Jr.
Freedom Rider Hank Thomas: Anniston’s place in my life When I boarded the Greyhound bus in Washington, D.C., May 4, 1961, headed south, I was in search of my American dream — that elusive dream, the dream that the Declaration of Independence’s reference to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” included me, a coming-of-age black man.
More than 1,000 pages from the FBI investigation into the attack on the Freedom Riders bus outside Anniston on May 14, 1961. The files were requested by the Anniston Star. Many names have been redacted by the FBI. Click the images to view a full size version of the documents.
The Ride: Special Section
Read the full special section commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Ride. Click the image to view a full version of the document.
Any cocoon of stability that may have surrounded Anniston Middle School is now shattered. Last month, after decades of debate, the Anniston Board of Education voted to close the school on Alabama 21 and move its students to other campuses as part of a system-wide reorganization and cost-cutting measure. Last week, Superintendent Joan Frazier announced her retirement for June 2014, meaning someone else -- possibly from outside the system hierarchy -- will shepherd the system through the middle school’s closure. And Tuesday, the state Board of Education included Anniston Middle on its list of “failing” schools that, as part of the Alabama Accountability Act, will allow parents zoned for AMS to receive tax credits if they transfer elsewhere. For the Anniston Board of Education, the state board’s list of 78 “failing” schools represents two different headlines -- both significant. No other Anniston schools made the list. (For that matter, Anniston Middle was the only school in Calhoun County to be deemed “failing” by the state board.) Anniston High School, whose dropout and graduation rates have long been serious civic concerns, and the system’s five elementary schools are free of both the stigma and the practicality of being considered “failing” institutions. We are glad that’s the case. But the other headline didn’t bring a sigh of relief to a city desperate to use public education in its efforts to reinvent the city’s outlook on vital matters such as job creation, economic growth and crime reduction. A city without vibrant and well-supported public schools is a city that struggles to educate its children and sustain its future. A city without successful public schools is a city that faces stagnation and decline, not prosperity. That is Anniston’s struggle today. Our advice is to consider Anniston Middle School’s label as a “failing” school as part old news and part opportunity. Don’t overreact. Instead, see Anniston Middle as what it is -- a school already destined for closure. That’s not a rationalization; it’s a fact. What’s important now is the system’s still-developing reorganization that, once completed, is expected to lessen the system’s fiscal concerns. More important, still, is this community’s understanding that the education of the children within Anniston’s public schools must be a grade-A priority. It is not the priority solely of the city’s educators or its black community, whose children are overwhelmingly the majority of the city’s schools. It must be a priority for all who want Anniston to prosper. Make no mistake: We are disappointed that the state considers Anniston Middle School a “failing” school. But we cannot lose focus on the larger, vital picture -- the reinvention of Anniston’s school system and the improvement of its public education. The ailments are well known. Repairing them with hard work and rational decisions is the key.
On May 14, 1961, Joe Postiglione took photos of the attack on the Freedom Riders bus for publication in The Anniston Star. Sixty-four photos were given to the FBI as evidence, along with descriptions provided by Postiglione. Photos 1-17 were taken at the Greyhound Bus Station between 8 a.m. and 1:10 p.m. Photos 18-64 were taken at Forsyth's Grocery, west of Anniston on State Highway 202, between 1:30 and 2:10 p.m. These images were provided by the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. The final two photos were recently discovered in the Anniston Star photo archives.