Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Commemorating the Freedom Rides

We’re posting this piece as a tribute to the Fiftieth anniversary of the Freedom Rides of 1961. The “Freedom Rides” were an important part of the non-violent protest against racial segregation; many of the Freedom Riders were college students.

Illustrated is a digital capture of the abbreviated version of “I Wonder Why…” —a photographic essay by Shirley Carter Burden, which appeared in Reader's Digest in February 1964. From a private collection. © 1964 Reader’s Digest, all rights reserved.

Not surprisingly Mr. Burden received several letters from very offended reader’s criticizing the piece. As Jeffery Dallas Parisi writes: “All letters of this sort were from prejudiced and racist readers across the country and their content is quite shocking and gives clear evidence of the extremely prejudiced sentiments people harbored during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.” [1]

  1. Parisi, Jeffery Dallas. “Shirley Carter Burden Papers, 1947-1989.” The New York Public Library Humanities and Social Sciences Library Manuscripts and Archives Division. The New York Public Library, Mar. 1993. Web. 15 May 2011.

Following the introductory title page (shown above) the essay begins as follows:

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