Benjamin Elton CoxFreedom Rider High Point, NC
Part of the original May 4 CORE Freedom Ride, the Rev. Benjamin Elton Cox was an outspoken black minister based in High Point, NC who had traveled through the region spreading the gospel of nonviolence during the spring and summer of 1960. Cox also participated in the July 8-15, 1961 Missouri to Louisiana CORE Freedom Ride.
Defending the actions of the Freedom Riders, Cox argues in Freedom Riders, "If men like Governor Patterson [of Alabama] and Governor Barnett of Mississippi... would carry out the good oath of their office, then people would be able to travel in this country. Then people in Tel Aviv and Moscow and London would not pick up their newspaper for breakfast and realize that America is not living up to the dream of liberty and justice for all."
The preacher and longtime civil rights activist was arrested 17 times over the course of several decades. Prior to retirement, he served as minister at Pilgrim Congregational Church in High Point, NC, as chaplain at the VA Hospital in Urbana, IL, and as a middle school counselor in Jackson, TN.