50th anniversary of the Freedom Rides
Content related to the burning of the Freedom Riders bus in Anniston on May 14, 1961.
The day that would change Anniston’s place in history began like any other small-town Sunday
Sunrise, as it often does on late spring days, illuminated the beauty of the Cheaha Valley on Mother’s Day 1961. Like a newborn, the day carried expectations of church and family celebrations and the relaxation of the week’s grandest time. Anniston awoke slowly, gently, its Sunday morning routine hard to disrupt.
May 11, 2011 |  1 comments | 34 34 recommendations | email to a friend
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A Rider wishes for reconciliation
Among photographs of old friends and paintings from the civil rights movement, Freedom Rider Hank Thomas keeps a small piece of the bus he nearly died on. It is a reminder he does not need, but a reminder nonetheless.
May 11, 2011 |  0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend
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A son of Piedmont continued the Rides
On May 14, 1961, as the Greyhound bus with the first of the Freedom Riders was burning on the side of the highway outside of Anniston, Bill Harbour and his friends were elsewhere, celebrating with a picnic. They had just integrated Nashville’s lunch counters and movie theaters.
May 11, 2011 |  0 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend
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The girl who helped when few others would
You might not know Janie McKinney, a 62-year-old communications specialist at UCLA. But, as 12-year-old Janie Forsyth, she became part of local civil rights lore by committing a simple act of kindness.
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Recalling a father’s ‘courageous stand’
Tom Potts Jr. is the owner of Potts Marketing Group, a local public relations/marketing agency. He’s the spokesman for the Foothills Community Partnership, the entity in charge of industrial lead cleanup for the area.
May 11, 2011 |  0 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend
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Related Letters and Editorials
50 years down the road: Recalling Freedom Rides is a chance to measure how far we’ve come
Fifty years separates modern-day Anniston from the Freedom Riders’ visit on Mother’s Day 1961. Those buses, one burned, one spared, left an indelible, if not unfair, image of the city – especially for those not here, for those who did not see it firsthand.
May 10, 2011 |  2 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend
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Anniston and the burning bus: We are obligated to confront our past, no matter how ugly it may be
The 1961 Freedom Ride attack lays like an open wound in Anniston’s history, stubbornly refusing to heal, impossible to ignore. It represented a dividing line between the past and future. It exposed the community to national and international condemnation. It tarnished the Model City image that civic leaders had been cultivating since the 19th century. It remains Anniston’s most shameful and painful incident.
May 08, 2011 |  5 comments | 34 34 recommendations | email to a friend
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Related Documents


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.

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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.