|Freedom Ride commemoration walk set for May 15|
To commemorate the legacy of the May 1961 “Freedom Rides,” there will be a “Freedom Walk” on campus Thursday, May 15. The walk is open to the public and will begin at 11:30 a.m. in front of the Hyslop Sports Center. The walk will conclude at the Eternal Flame Memorial near Twamley Hall. The rain site will be 300 Merrifield Hall. A short program will follow featuring UND history professor and civil rights expert Eric Burin and other community members.
This march is part of a series of events recognizing President John F. Kennedy’s visit to Grand Forks and his speech at UND in 1963. Future events will be part of a Sept. 24-27, interdisciplinary conference and community celebration commemorating the visit.
“President Kennedy's visit inspired the largest gathering in UND campus history," said Gregory S. Gordon (law), chair of the JFK Conference Committee. “JFK touched us with his charismatic presence and enlightened us with his wise words. We seek to shed light on today's pressing issues by reconsidering some of the salient themes of the Kennedy years, including the clash between tyranny and freedom and the promotion of the individual rights of our citizens. The May 1961 Freedom Rides played a significant role in the civil rights movement and we think commemorating it with a "Freedom Walk" this month is an ideal way to inform the community and the nation about our upcoming JFK Conference. In fact, given the recent hate crimes at UND, the timing for a walk to promote tolerance and embrace diversity could not be better. We hope diverse segments of the community will unite to march with us as we begin the healing process in anticipation of our national dialogue at the JFK Conference in September.”
For more information regarding the walk or the conference, please e-mail the JFK Committee at email@example.com. Additional information regarding the conference is also available at: www.und.nodak.edu/instruct/jfkconference.
Freedom Walk Schedule
* 11:30 a.m., welcome by Gregory S. Gordon, chair; walk begins from the Hyslop Sports Center
* 11:50 a.m., program at Eternal Flame; community voices and keynote address by Eric Burin
The Freedom Rides
The early months of the Kennedy administration saw the birth of a movement called the “Freedom Rides,” in which African American citizens rode various forms of public transportation in the South to challenge local laws or customs that enforced segregation. The May 1961 Freedom Rides bolstered the credibility of the American Civil Rights Movement and called national attention to the violent disregard for law that was used to enforce segregation in the southern United States. The Freedom Rides resulted in the Kennedy administration banning segregation in all interstate commerce facilities.
For more information please contact Gregory S. Gordon, chair, John F. Kennedy Conference and Community Event, firstname.lastname@example.org .