WARSAW — As part of an ongoing Warsaw Community Schools Speaker Series, WCS will welcome Charles Person on Tuesday, May 11.
Person was at WCS in January 2016. This second visit will be virtual. Students in grades five and six will engage in a presentation and learn more about the Civil Rights movement. Middle school students will have an opportunity at a later date to view the recorded presentation.
Person is one of two remaining original Freedom Riders of 1961.He became a Freedom Rider following his participation in the Atlanta Student Movement, a student-led successful effort to desegregate Atlanta restaurants and lunch counters. Person’s activism put him in jail for 16 days, 10 of them were in solitary confinement.
In May 1961, 13 Freedom Riders — seven black, six white — sought to travel from Washington, D.C. to New Orleans. They were testing a then-recent Supreme Court decision declaring segregation in interstate travel unconstitutional. The Riders were violently assaulted on Mother’s Day by multiple mobs determined to maintain white supremacy. This attempt to stop the Riders brought hundreds of more Riders to the South to challenge and defeat Jim Crow.
Following the ride, Person joined the United States Marines, serving the country for 20 years in Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis and in Vietnam as one of the earliest Marines to land there in 1965.
Richard Rooker, a local retired teacher, co-authored ‘Buses Are a Comin’: Memoris of a Freedom Rider,’ released on April 27. Rooker will join Charles Person for the presentation.
in his memoir, Person seeks to tell his perspective of the freedom fight and honor his fellow Freedom Riders for their courage and sacrifice to make this nation a better place for all. Person and his wife, Jo Etta, live in Atlanta, Ga.
WCS would like to thank all who made it possible for students to virtually meet and learn a first-person account of history from Charles Person with Richard Rooker.