The Journey of Reconciliation: The Freedom Rides in Chapel Hill

October 27, 2011 - October 27, 2011

In 1947, an interracial group of sixteen civil rights activists, including Bayard Rustin and George Hauser, set out to test the Supreme Court’s ruling banning segregation on interstate travel. Known as the “Journey of Reconciliation”, the group of Freedom Riders traveled from Washington D.C. throughout the South, often encountering resistance and threats. When they stopped in Chapel Hill, they faced violence from a group of angry citizens, and were able to take refuge in the home of Rev. Charles Jones, a local minister and social justice activist. The Freedom Riders were arrested and prosecuted for disturbing the peace.

The Journey of Reconciliation was a critical precursor to the Freedom Rides and civil rights protests of the 1950s and 1960s. The items from North Carolina Collection and the Southern Historical Collection are a powerful testament to the tremendous efforts of a coalition of students, community members, and others who fought to ensure social justice and civil rights for all individuals.

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