Original Freedom Rider speaks at CSU

Columbus State University kicks off a year long history series focusing on America's fight for Civil Rights and the Freedom Riders who challenged segregation back in the 1960s.

Charles Person, one of the original 13 freedom riders, spoke at CSU on Thursday.

Person was 18 and the youngest of the Freedom Riders who challenged authorities for equal rights…being badly beaten at times.

The Freedom Riders rode interstate buses into the south to fight for their rights.

Person says what started as 13 people ended up being over 400 Freedom Riders….half of them were African American and the other half White.

“A lot of the kids just woke up one morning and said, 'I want to be a Freedom Rider.' Here's the thing, Freedom Riders knew you're either going to get beat up, your bus is going to get burned, or you're going to jail. And they still came…they still came. Can you explain it? I can't because most people, when you realize the alternative, you would have stayed at home, but these young people came from all over the country, and also several nations. We had ten international students that were apart of the Freedom Rides,” Person says.

CSU's yearlong series will feature films and speakers, as well as the Freedom Rider exhibit accessible in the library through November 7.

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