Biography

Genevieve Hughes Houghton

Genevieve Hughes Houghton

Freedom Rider Washington, DC

One of two women participants in the original 13-person Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) Freedom Ride, 28-year-old CORE Field Secretary Genevieve Hughes was a former financial analyst for Dun and Bradstreet. She became active in the New York City chapter of CORE during the late 1950s, helping to organize a boycott of dime stores affiliated with chains resisting desegregation in the South. Alienated from the conservatism of Wall Street, she made the shift to full-time activism in 1960.

A Maryland native, Hughes explained her motivation for joining the Freedom Ride by saying, "I figured Southern women should be represented so the South and the nation would realize all Southern people don't think alike."

During the original CORE Freedom Ride, Hughes survived the brutal May 14, 1961 attack on the Greyhound Bus near Anniston, Alabama. On May 15, when faced with mounting threats and intimidation, the Riders could not find a bus driver willing to take them further, and they flew from Birmingham, AL to New Orleans, LA.

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