In this book, Eric Etheridge, a journalist, narrates his interviews and photographs. What he did was to track down over 70 Freedom Riders. They are known to be those who were arrested and served jail time as they challenged the state segregation laws of Mississippi in the summer and spring of 1961. In the book, the original mug shots were displayed as well as the contemporary portraits of Etheridge.
To give you an idea, here is an overview of the life of the Freedom Riders featured in the book:
- Hank Thomas
He was born in August 29, 1941 in Jacksonville, FL but he was raised in St. Augustine, FL. He was a sophomore at Howard University in DC and is known to be active in the student movement. Of the 13 Freedom Fighters who left DC on May 4, 1961, he was one of them and he was also there on the bus that was firebombed in AL 7 days later.
- Carol Silver
She was born in Boston, MA on October 1, 1938. She grew up there, in Revere, and in Worcester, MA. She used to live in New York as she worked for the United Nations. She was also a graduate of University of Chicago in 1960.
- Michael Audain
He was born in Bournemouth, England on July 31, 1937. He was then raised in Victoria, British Columbia. His great grandfather who was known as James Dunsmuir was a 5th generation British Columbian who was known to be a prominent politician and industrialist in their province. Audain finished his third year at University of British Columbia. He was also one of the Freedom Riders in Jackson who actually came alone, without organizers with him.
- Charles Purnell
He was born in Rolling Fork, MS on January 19, 1941. He grew up there but since his father was a preacher for African Methodist Episcopal who was fond of changing churches every 2 years, he was able to go to other small towns such as North Mississippi, Cleveland, Coldwater, and Holly Bluff. Purnell used to be a student in Campbell Junior College.
- Larry Bell
He was born in Monroe, GA on March 5, 1942. He grew up there until his family moved in LA at 1950. Back then, he was a freshman of Los Angeles City College.
- Matthew Walker, Jr.
He was born on June 1, 1941 in Nashville and it’s where he grew up too. His dather was a member of Nashville Christian Leadership Council and was also a surgeon. He servedas chair of Meharry Medical College’s surgery department. Back then, Walker was a student of Fisk University and he was active in the Nashville Student Movement as well.
- Jean Thompson
She was born in Lake Providence, LA on January 13, 1942. She was raised there and in New Orleans. She used to be active in CORE in New Orleans and she was with her sisters Shirley and Alice. Shirley was then arrested on June 6 at the Trailways station.
Know more about these people by reading Breach of Peace: Portraits of the 1961 Mississippi Freedom Riders.
About the Authors
Eric Etheridge grew up in Carthage, Mississippi. He is a former editor at Rolling Stone, The New York Observer and Harper’s. He lives in New York City.
Eric is represented by the American Program Bureau for nationwide speaking engagements and lectures.
Roger Wilkins is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and distinguished professor of history at George Mason University. He was assistant attorney general in President Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration at the age of thirty-three.
Diane McWhorter is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama-the Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution and a long-time contributor to the New York Times.