Blues project 2014: black and blue the fight for freedom

Introduce: Ben Kroll – vocals

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Introduce: Ben Kroll – vocals

Blake Rittgers – bass

Abby Rochford, Lily Letnich, Gracie Ault, Chloe George, Ruthie Marfoe –background vocals
By the early 1960s, laws against segregation on buses that traveled interstate had long been in effect, but had been largely disregarded, particularly in the South.  Freedom Riders were groups of black and white students who intentionally boarded buses, sat interracially, and journeyed south, in an endeavor to continue the changes begun by Rosa Parks and the Greensboro Four.  But, the problem was, when the buses stopped in places like Montgomery and Birmingham, Alabama, they were at the mercy of local law enforcement officers, who frequently stood back and let the Klan and members of White Citizens Councils do physical harm to the buses and the riders without intervening.  In Anniston, Alabama one of the buses was firebombed by the Klan and in Birmingham, Klansmen climbed on board and beat the riders to the brink of death. In other examples, such as in Birmingham, where Bull Conner was police chief, the police actually participated in the abuse of the freedom riders.  Riders were often arrested on any number of trumped up charges.  While in jail, the students would sing – loud and proud. In fact, Bull Conner eventually had the riders transferred up north to a Tennessee jail because, as he put it, “I just couldn’t stand their singing.” While the parents of these students watched the news, they saw what was happening to the Freedom Riders, and many wondered if their children would get out alive.  This anxiety is brought out in the next song, “Waiting For My Child To Come.”
                    Introduce:  Lily Letnich – vocals

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