May 4, 2009

In addition to the Kent State tragedy, today also marks the 28th anniversary of the first Freedom Ride. This famous interview with Jim Zwerg did much to change white public opinion in the north. His teeth had been knocked out by racists in the Montgomery Bus station. Jim Zwerg was interviewed again by PBS for the 1998 documentary show The People's Century:

I don't feel bad that a young black man can get on a bus that's being driven by a black bus driver and go to visit his grandmother and not be thinking, "Oh, how wonderful that 25 years ago some people made this possible." It's normal, it's expected, there's no big deal about it. You get on a bus, you go visit grandma. Did we accomplish something? Yes, we accomplished something! Is there a lot more to accomplish? Sure there is! There are still pockets, north and south, of people who just don't accept you for the color of your skin, your nationality, whatever.

I look at my grandkids -- I've got one little boy who is part-Korean, part-black, part-white... he's an American, for crying out loud. He's not a Korean-American, he's not a Black-American, he's not a White-American. He's an American, and he's a wonderful little boy.

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