Charles PersonFreedom Rider Atlanta, GA
The youngest member of the original 1961 Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) Freedom Ride, 18-year-old Charles Person was a freshman at Atlanta's Morehouse College. Born and raised in Atlanta, Person had been surrounded by reminders of segregation throughout his life. A gifted math and physics student who dreamed of a career as a scientist, he was refused admission to the all-white Georgia Institute of Technology. While at Morehouse, he became active in the Atlanta sit-in movement to integrate segregated lunch counters in early 1961 and was sentenced to 16 days in jail as a result.
Along with Jim Peck and Walter Bergman, Person was one of the most badly beaten of the Riders during the May 14, 1961 riot at the Birmingham Trailways Bus Station.
After the Freedom Rides, Person joined the U.S. Marines in late 1961, retiring after two decades of active service. He lived in Cuba from 1981-1984. Since returning to Georgia, he has worked in Atlanta's public schools as a technology supervisor.