Day 8 – Twenty-one

June 26th, 2021

Today we listened to Mr. Rip Patton speak. Mr. Patton was born in Nashville in 1940 and attended Tennessee State University beginning in 1960. As a student, he joined the Nashville branch of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and participated in sit-ins, stand-ins, and boycotts. He also joined the Freedom Riders in 1961. It truly saddens me to think about everything that Freedom Riders went through. Tires were slashed, bombs were thrown in buses, the riders were badly beaten with metal pipes, clubs, and baseball bats – and Bull Connor was in no rush to stop the mobs (assuring them that it would be at least fifteen minutes until police forces arrived). Mr. Patton was 21 years old when he joined the Freedom Riders. I am 21, and I can’t imagine willingly putting my life at risk like that. I suppose my mindset would be different if I experienced the oppression that Mr. Patton and his fellow black Americans did in the Deep South. I am thankful that he and his comrades had the courage to ride those buses and pave the way for integration.

Jane Mylin