FREEDOM HAS TO BE WON OVER AND OVER
This week Wednesday, May 4th, was the fiftieth anniversary of The Freedom Riders. Four hundred black and white youth traveled together in defiance of the Southern segregated travel system. My wife and I attended a lecture (3-3-07) sponsored by the Minnesota Historical Society titled “Organizing Freedom: The Freedom Riders.” The lecture stimulated my writing a retrospective on “what I already understood, namely, major themes in my teaching of American history were shaped by personal experiences” living in Auburn Alabama between 1959 and 1961. Memories of this experience led to writing Shaped By History. The introduction to that personal retrospective also included in this website stated: “Living in the deep South during the Civil Rights Revolution. Learning to distinguish between American Ideal and American Reality. A historian’s reflections of personal experiences in developing and teaching African-American and Women’s American history.” A Freedom Rider stated this week: “Freedom has to be won over and over.” I closed my personal retrospective on an optimistic note: “Study of American history has shown the redemptive nature of American reform tradition urging American reality to reflect more clearly American idealism.” The struggle for perfecting American idealism continues and should reflect the American Reform tradition.