In this WSB newsfilm clip from August 13, 1961, an interracial group of demonstrators hold a rally at Battery Park and on Liberty Island at the foot of the Statue of Liberty in support of the Freedom Riders.
The clip begins in Battery Park and focuses on a box of buttons with the slogan "Freedom Ride" and on armbands with the slogan "Fast for freedom." An African American man takes a button from the box and pins it on his shirt as other demonstrators walk behind him. Hands of African American and white people take buttons and armbands. A white woman pins a "Fast for freedom" armband on another white woman. Next, the demonstrators line up and wait to board the Statue of Liberty Ferry. Several policemen standing nearby watch the demonstrators. A sign advertises information about the ferry which appears to travel between Battery Park and Liberty Island. Several groups of people, some wearing arm bands, board the ferry. On the ferry an interracial group of women wearing armbands sits in a row. Other demonstrators on the ferry watch the Statue of Liberty. Later, on Liberty Island, a park ranger watches the the demonstrators get off the ferry. The demonstrators walk around the island and sit and stand at the base of the Statue of Liberty.
In 1961 the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) organized a test of interstate transportation dubbed the Freedom Ride. The ride, patterned after the 1947 Journey of Reconciliation, began in Washington D.C. on May 4, 1961 after three days of nonviolence training. The trip met little resistance through Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Georgia. However, on May 14, the two groups of riders were attacked in Anniston and Birmingham, Alabama. Although the riders eventually flew to New Orleans on May 15, student civil rights workers from Nashville, Tennessee organized replacement riders to continue the journey. After several days of delay, on May 20, 1961, the reorganized Freedom Riders traveled from Birmingham to Montgomery. In Montgomery, the riders were again attacked by a white mob that beat the riders and several bystanders, including John Seigenthaler, personal assistant to attorney general Robert F. Kennedy. Following several more days of negotiations attempting to guarantee the riders' safety, the group traveled from Montgomery to Jackson, Mississippi on May 25. Mississippi officials promptly arrested the May 25 Freedom Riders and every subsequent group of riders that came to Jackson. Many riders, following the "jail, no bail" policy of civil rights workers, would stay in jail the thirty-nine days required for appeals before being bailed out. On August 13, the New York CORE branch held a rally supporting the local Freedom Riders who were scheduled to return to Jackson the next day to appeal their arrest. The rally began at Battery Park in Manhattan and then moved to Liberty Park until the park closed. Many demonstrators vowed to "fast for freedom" for the twenty-four hours of the demonstration to show solidarity with the arrested riders.
Title supplied by cataloger.
The Civil Rights Digital Library received support from a National Leadership Grant for Libraries awarded to the University of Georgia by the Institute of Museum and Library Services for digital conversion and description of the WSB-TV Newsfilm Collection.
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Cite as: WSB-TV newsfilm clip of a rally in support of the Freedom Riders held at Battery Park and at the foot of the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island in New York City, New York, 1961 August 13, WSB-TV newsfilm collection, reel 0733, 53:46/54:51, Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection, The University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Ga, as presented in the Digital Library of Georgia.