Alabama Opens Freedom Ride Museum


By Lisa Blackwell

Alabama marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Freedom Rides by opening a museum in Montgomery.

The Alabama Historical Commission opened the Freedom Rides Museum in the historic Greyhound Bus Station.

The opening art exhibit, "Road To Equality", features artwork that commemorates a major turning point in history.

On May 20, 1961 the Freedom Riders stepped off a bus aiming to end the practice of forbidding blacks and whites from sitting together on buses, trains and even airports.

They were attacked and beaten by an angry police-sanctioned mob.

Artists talked about their work and how it reflects the struggles of the civil rights movement.

Vinnie Bagwell, Artist, "Liberte'" says, "I decided to incorporate relief sculpture to tell the story and so you've got the American flag, the scale is tipped for injustice, the iconic image of the bus being set on fire and the people recovering, the church was very instrumental in the civil rights fight as a whole so she carries the bible, on the back of the piece is Rosa Parks who is the mother of the civil rights movement and mug shots of some of the Freedom Riders, just to give people a sense of the story."

Charlotte Riley-Webb, Artist, "Solidarity In Song" says, "Freedom Riders actually did a lot of singing throughout the whole mission, they sang on the bus, they sang in prison and the top of the piece reflects the field workers, did the same thing, singing got them through a lot of issues and a lot problems and hard times."

Original Freedom Riders and other dignitaries including Congressman John Lewis attended the event.

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Dwight E. Miles,Art Dealer said on Tuesday, May 31 at 3:07 PM

Congratulations to both Ms. Bagley and Riley- Webb for the beautiful artwork and sculptures created for the new Freedom Riders Museum in Alabama.

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Lorraine said on Sunday, May 29 at 2:49 PM

Oh my! Vinny Bagwell and her 'Liberte' sculptures are spectacular!

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