- This event has passed.
Buses to Freedom / Ballots for Liberty
February 6, 2020 @ 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm
In honor of Black History Month’s theme “African-American sand the Vote”, the Freedom Rides Museum will host “Buses to Freedom / Ballots for Liberty: A Conversation with Dr. Bernard Lafayette” on Thursday, February 6 at 5:30pm.
In 1961, 20-year-old Dr. Bernard Lafayette, along with 20 other student Freedom Riders out of Nashville, TN including Congressman John Lewis who was his roommate at American Baptist Theological Seminary, were attacked at the Montgomery Greyhound Bus Station by a mob as they peacefully protested segregated interstate travel. Two years later, Dr. Lafayette was in search of a new assignment from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee(SNCC). SNCC officials told him that that they were not sending any staff to Selma because nothing could be accomplished in terms of civil rights activity,others had already tried. Undeterred, Dr. Lafayette took on the challenge.Between 1963-1965, he worked with the Dallas County Voters League organizing high school students at the then segregated R.B. Hudson High School to get African-Americans in Selma registered to vote. Though he weathered death threats, his activism helped lay the foundation for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference who came to Selma in 1965 and helped bring a national spotlight to Selma.
In 1968, Dr. Lafayette was with Dr. King just before his death and went on to help organize the Poor Peoples Campaign. He has continued to work in nonviolence training around the world. He has taught at numerous colleges and universities, currently as adjunct at Auburn University. In 2016,Dr, Lafayette, Jr. was awarded the Mahatma Gandhi International Award for Reconciliation and Peace. It is the highest award given to a civilian in India.
Join us as we hear from Dr. Lafayette as he tells his story of activism in Selma. At the event, the public will be able to purchase signed copies of Dr. Lafayette’s memoir, “In Peace and Freedom: My Journey in Selma.”
The timing of this special event is quite poignant, certainly for Black History Month, but perhaps more importantly as the nation observes the sesquicentennial of the 15th Amendment— the third and final amendment to the U.S. Constitution during the Reconstruction Era that was adopted to protect the freedoms outlined in the 13th and 14th Amendments.
“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” (U.S. Constitution. Amendment XV, Section 1. 1870.)
The 150th anniversary of the ratification of the 15th Amendment is February 3, 2020.
The program is free with paid admission to the museum. The Freedom Rides Museum is honored to host Dr. Lafayette at the site where he was brutally attacked 59 years ago.
Learn more about the Freedom Rides Museum here: https://ahc.alabama.gov/properties/freedomrides/freedomrides.aspx