Biography

Glenda Gaither Davis

Glenda Gaither Davis

Freedom Rider Great Falls, SC

A student at Claflin College in Orangeburg, SC, 18-year-old Glenda Gaither —sister of CORE field secretary Tom Gaither— was already a veteran of the state's sit-in movement to end lunch counter segregation. On May 30, 1961, she arrived in Jackson, MS as part of the first group of eight Freedom Riders from New Orleans, LA to conduct tests at a railway terminal. When they attempted to use the white restrooms, they were arrested for disorderly conduct and sentenced within the hour to a $200 fine and a 60-day jail term.

In 1965 Gaither married her boyfriend Jim Davis, a participant in the same ride, and later worked as a job placement director at Spelman College.

She recalls in Freedom Riders, "Even though we came from many different places and we had many different cultures and many different home environments, in some ways we were very much unified because we had a common cause... we knew that we had taken a stand and that there was something better out there for us."

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