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Events

Freedom Rider and Civil Rights Leader Bernard Lafayette

  • St. Francis College, Founder's Hall 180 Remsen Street Brooklyn, NY, 11201 United States

Join us for the Senior Citizen Lectures and Institute for Peace & Justice guest lectures and events this semester. --Co-directors, Sara Rzeszutek Haviland and Emily Horowitz

Freedom Rider and Civil Rights Leader Bernard Lafayette (*in Founder’s Hall)

21-year-old Bernard Lafayette hailed from Tampa, FL and was enrolled as an undergraduate at Nashville's American Baptist Theological Seminary. A veteran of the Nashville sit-ins, Lafayette had already staged a successful impromptu Freedom Ride with his close friend and fellow student activist John Lewis in 1959, while traveling home for Christmas break, when they decided to exercise their rights as interstate passengers by sitting in the front of a bus from Nashville, TN to Birmingham, AL. As part of the May 17 Nashville Student Movement Ride, Lafayette endured jail time in Birmingham, riots and firebombings in Montgomery, AL, an arrest in Jackson, MS and jail time at Parchman State Prison Farm during June 1961. After the end of the Freedom Riders campaign, he worked on voting rights and helped to coordinate the 1968 Poor Peoples Campaign. He completed a doctorate in Education at Harvard University and for several years was the Director of the Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies at the University of Rhode Island. He currently teaches at Emory University and conducts nonviolent workshops worldwide. (Bio and photo from The American Experience/PBS).