Monday, May 03, 2021 7:00 PM
A Cappella Books on Zoom
In his powerful memoir, author and Civil Rights Movement pioneer Charles Person delivers a firsthand exploration of the cost of boarding the bus of change to move America forward.
The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and A Cappella Books welcome the author for a virtual discussion of “Buses Are a Comin': Memoir of a Freedom Rider,” on Monday, May 3, at 7 PM (EST). The author will appear in conversation with Emory professor and director of the James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference, Andra Gillespie.
This event is free and open to the public. Join the event via the Zoom link below.
A Cappella Books will have copies of "Buses Are a Comin" available after the event. Pre-order via the link below. At checkout, choose between the local delivery, curbside pick-up, or shipping options. For zip codes not listed in the above banner, select curbside pick-up or USPS shipping.
About the Book
At 18, Charles Person was the youngest of the original Freedom Riders, key figures in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement who left Washington, D.C. by bus in 1961, headed for New Orleans. This purposeful mix of black and white, male and female activists—including future Congressman John Lewis, Congress of Racial Equality Director James Farmer, Reverend Benjamin Elton Cox, journalist and pacifist James Peck, and CORE field secretary Genevieve Hughes—set out to discover whether America would abide by a Supreme Court decision that ruled segregation unconstitutional in bus depots, waiting areas, restaurants, and restrooms nationwide.
Two buses proceeded through Virginia, North and South Carolina, to Georgia where they were greeted by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and finally to Alabama. There, the Freedom Riders found their answer: No. Southern states would continue to disregard federal law and use violence to enforce racial segregation. One bus was burned to a shell, its riders narrowly escaping; the second, which Charles rode, was set upon by a mob that beat several riders nearly to death.
“Buses Are a Comin’” provides a front-row view of the struggle to belong in America, as Charles Person accompanies his colleagues off the bus, into the station, into the mob, and into history to help defeat segregation’s violent grip on African American lives. It is also a challenge from a teenager of a previous era to the young people of today: become agents of transformation. Stand firm. Create a more just and moral country where students have a voice, youth can make a difference, and everyone belongs.
About the Author
Charles Person is the only living Freedom Rider who remained with the original Ride from its start in Washington, D.C. to its end in New Orleans. This historic event helped defeat Jim Crow laws in the U.S. A sought-after public speaker, Charles maintains active contacts with schools, museums and the activist community.
About the Co-Author
Richard Rooker is an English and history educator, writing coach, and longtime personal friend of Charles Person. He is an active board member of the Indiana Historical Society.