Ernest "Rip" Patton, Jr.Freedom Rider Nashville, TN
The 21-year-old Tennessee State student was the drum major in the University marching band when, in 1961, he became involved in the Nashville Movement. Patton arrived in Montgomery, AL on Tuesday, May 23 to help reinforce the riders meeting at the home of Dr. Harris after the May 21 firebombing and siege of Montgomery's First Baptist Church.
Ernest "Rip" Patton, Jr. took part in the May 24, 1961 Greyhound Freedom Ride to Jackson, MS, where he was arrested and later transferred to Mississippi's notorious Parchman State Prison Farm.
Patton was one of 14 Tennessee State University students expelled for participating in the Rides. Following the Freedom Rides, he worked as a jazz musician, and later as a long-distance truck driver and community leader. For the past three years, Patton has served as the Freedom Rider on an annual university sponsored Civil Rights tour of the Deep South.