Immediate Release                                                                                                

Contact: Dorothy Walker, Site Director, The Freedom Rides Museum, 334-230-2676

April 19, 2022





Newly Discovered Rare Photo of First Freedom Ride to be Unveiled April 23, 2022


(Montgomery, AL) - A photo of participants on the first “Freedom Ride” has been discovered in a university archive. Freedom Riders were black and white activists who challenged segregation on southern buses in 1947.


The image is one of two known to exist of the Journey of Reconciliation (JOR). 2022 marks the 75th anniversary of this two-week journey from April 9-23 through the Upper South. The 1961 Freedom Rides were based on the JOR.


The photo will be shown to the public in an online event on Saturday, April 23, beginning at 3 p.m. central time, co-sponsored by the Freedom Rides Museum and the Fellowship of Reconciliation, who originally co-sponsored the Journey of Reconciliation along with the Congress of Racial Equality.


Timed to mark the anniversary of the trip’s final portion to the hour, the online event will also include presentations about the ride, including an excerpt from the public television documentary “You Don’t Have to Ride Jim Crow!”


Panelists include:


-       Ethan Vesely-Flad, Acting Co-Director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation

-       Robin Washington, Producer of “You Don’t Have to Ride Jim Crow!”

-       Dorothy Walker, Site Director of The Freedom Rides Museum, Montgomery, Alabama

-       Walter Naegle, partner of the late Bayard Rustin, the ride’s co-leader and later the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington.


“At the Freedom Rides Museum, we are always seeking the stories that have yet to be told.” Walker stated, “This recently discovered photograph will expand our understanding about this significant part of American history that, like the 1961 Freedom Rides, is relevant to our ability to travel freely throughout the country today.  We are pleased to be a part of unveiling this photo during the 75th anniversary of the Journey of Reconciliation.”


The JOR riders endured a violent attack and 23 arrests on the trip. They were initially promised legal representation by the NAACP but later three riders, including Rustin, would serve 22 days on a North Carolina chain gang.


Downloadable copies of the newly discovered photo and the previously known image will be available during the online event. To participate, click the link at



About The Freedom Rides Museum

Working with concerned citizens, The Alabama Historical Commission saved the Greyhound Bus Station from demolition in the mid-1990s. The Museum is located at 210 S. Court Street, at the intersection of S. Court St. and Adams Avenue in downtown Montgomery. An award-winning exhibit on the building's exterior traces the Freedom Riders' history. It uses words and images of the Freedom Riders, those who supported them, and those who opposed them. Interior exhibits highlight additional information on the Freedom Riders and the way in which buildings were designed for racial segregation. Today, the Alabama Historical Commission operates this significant site.


About the Alabama Historical Commission

Located in historic downtown Montgomery at 468 S. Perry Street, the Alabama Historical Commission is the state historic preservation agency for Alabama. The agency was created by an act of the state legislature in 1966 with a mission to protect, preserve and interpret Alabama’s historic places. AHC works to accomplish its mission through two fields of endeavor: Preservation and promotion of state-owned historic sites as public attractions; and statewide programs to assist people, groups, towns, and cities with local preservation activities. For a complete list of programs and properties owned and operated by the AHC, hours of operation, and admission fees please visit  



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