I used to put pocket change in a big mayonnaise jar in our student union at college labeled "Help the Freedom Riders!'. I admired people who would put their lives on the line for something they believed and since I could not help out in more substantive waysI thought that my pocket change might help. For someone in college on loans and scholarship and who was working nights washing dishes for $1.25 an hour pocket change was a lot of money. I hope it helped in some small way. What was going on in the south and other places was truly revolutionary. Things were going to change and you could feel it. At least I could in my white-bread mind. It would take a while but it was going to happen. I lived at one time in my youth in Alabama when there were separate but 'equal' facilities for whites and blacks. There were Colored and White drinking fountains. Blacks had to sit in the balconies and on the back of the bus. Although I was young at the time I knew it was wrong and it had to change. In the sixties the changes began to happen very rapidly thanks to brave people willing to take a personal stand to end racial discrimination and segregation. Racial discrimination and segregation does not have a place in our country.
In America, in the 21st century, there are people--even in the field of higher education--who are so bigoted that they are willing to pass up a prestigious job rather than work in a state that has antidiscrimination laws.Are we are moving back to the 1940's and 1950's when racial discrimination was the law and custom throughout the country? The Freedom Riders rode in vain. All those that fought so hard and so long to end discrimination and segregation should have tears in their eyes.