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Posts Tagged ‘ LeRoy Ford ’

Day 8: A Walk Through History

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

By LeRoy Ford

Today we visited the city of Selma, Alabama. For me, the drive into Selma was a little depressing because everything looked so run-down and tattered. As we were driving in, I wondered why this area was so neglected. These thoughts continued to bring me down because I felt like something needed to be done. Then I began to think about the history of the city and all of the fighting that took place there to win us the rights we have today. Thinking about this put things into perspective as to why it looked the way it did. Selma may be a poor city, but it is rich with history to be shared.

When we first arrived in Selma, we drove over the Edmund Pettus Bridge to enter into the city. Driving over this historical bridge gave me a feeling that is almost impossible to explain. I couldn’t help but think back to the brutality that happened on that bridge in 1965. However, the bridge wasn’t our first stop. We went to the historic Brown Chapel A.M.E Church. Sitting in the pews, I tried to envision myself sitting in those same pews fifty years ago, participating in the march for voting rights. Being in the building in which so much history took place made me feel blessed and very thankful for those who fought so hard for me to have the freedoms I have today.

After our visit to the church, we returned to the Edmund Pettus Bridge, but this time we walked over it, just as they did in the 1965 march for voting rights. We exited the bus and walked over, two-by-two and silently. Silence has never had so much power as it did in that moment. As we walked, I thought back to the courageous people walking in 1965. I thought about the fear that I’m sure they had inside of them, knowing what was waiting on the other side. I began to smile to myself, knowing that because of those brave souls, I could now walk this bridge and be assured that brutality wouldn’t be waiting for me on the other side. As we reached the other end of the bridge where they were met with brutality in 1965, I felt like I could rejoice. I realized that I just took the most meaningful walk in my life and that I will never forget. I took a walk through history.

Day 6: LeRoy Ford

Saturday, May 14th, 2011

Day 3: Unsung Heroes

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

By LeRoy Ford

When we think about the civil rights movement everyone thinks of Martin Luther King, Jr., Harriet Tubman, and Rosa Parks. But what about those who came before them and gave them the courage to stand up for civil rights? What about the young men and women that fought just as hard, if not harder, for us to have the freedoms we have today? What about the unsung heroes?

I found myself to be ashamed when we pulled into the town of Farmville, Virginia on Day 2 of the Student Freedom Ride. I was ashamed because I had no idea that I was pulling up to such an important part of history. It was a part of history that has directly impacted my life, yet I knew nothing about it. A young 16-year-old high school student changed history forever. This student, Barbara Johns, had more courage, bravery, and dedication than I could have ever had when I was 16. That she recognized that she and her classmates were being treated unfairly and stood up and did something about it speaks a lot.

She rallied her classmates to strike against the inequality of the black schools and the white schools. Just to think about how the schools decided to shut down for five years instead of integrate breaks my heart. But the dedication of Barbara Johns and her classmates changed history forever. This is one way the unsung heroes have changed the lives of you and me.

Now I can proudly say that I am no longer ashamed of the fact of not knowing, because now I know. I know that it took more than just the people we constantly hear about in history text and classes. It’s not just about the ones who have holidays in honor of their service. It’s more than just them. It’s about everyone who had the courage and dedication to stand up for what they believed in. These unsung heroes who paved the way for you and me deserve as much credit as those constantly in the spotlight. But I now understand that they didn’t do it for attention, fame, or praise; they did it because they wanted change and had the bravery to do so. I will forever be grateful for the unsung heroes!

Newseum Event

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Day 1: LeRoy Ford

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

Kansas City Star

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

Students Retrace the Civil Rights Freedom Rides of the 1960s
by Donald Bradley

Early morning on Friday, LeRoy Ford of Kansas City will “get on the bus.”

That’s the phrase used for the 2011 Freedom Ride to mark the 50 years since college students boarded buses in Washington, D.C., to travel into the Deep South to challenge segregation laws. Read more…

Meet the Riders!

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Student Rider: LeRoy Ford

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

University of Nebraska
Lincoln, Nebraska
Hometown: Kansas City, Missouri

Watch the full episode. See more Freedom Riders.