Group singing provided solace for Freedom Riders facing the constant threat of violence. It was also an effective political tool. "Without singing, we would have lost our sense of solidarity,” John Lewis says.
In the decades after WWII, civil rights leaders relied on legal and legislative challenges to dismantle segregation.
In 1947, 16 men—eight black and eight white—boarded a bus to test compliance with a recent Supreme Court ruling that outlawed segregation on interstate bus travel.
After deciding to participate in the Freedom Rides in May 1961, Jim Zwerg called his parents for support only to be told that he was “killing his father.”