|Interstate bus terminals were also segregated
during this time period. In 1961, however, the U.S. Supreme Court
ruled that they were unconstitutional. This ruling had little
effect in some areas, however. As a result, Freedom Riders
organized themselves and traveled on these buses to various places
in the South. By carrying out this form of protest, the Freedom
Riders, who were black and white students, tried to attract the
attention of the U.S. government. They were also risking their
lives at the same time.
The Freedom Riders were met with much spite. Attacks from groups
such as the Ku Klux Klan were not unusual. The buses were set on
fire and Freedom Riders being beaten with chains, pipes, and
baseball bats. Local police forces usually failed to stop the
violence, even encouraging and supporting it at times. Such actions
caused a total of 350 Riders to be jailed.
When it was suggested by Robert F. Kennedy, the U.S. Attorney
General, that there be a cooling-off period for King and his
followers, James Farmer, the director of the Congress of Racial
Equality (CORE), retorted that African Americans had been cooling
off for three hundred and fifty years.
Victory was finally achieved for African Americans when the
Interstate Commerce Commission, under the direction of Bobby
Kennedy, desegregated all buses.