Mother’s Day, 1961, Joseph Mills

Diane Corson, Three Pine Sea


Mother’s Day, 1961


When the Greyhound bus carrying
the freedom riders arrived,
a group of Klansmen were waiting,
some wearing their “Sunday best.”
They shouted racial slurs, set fires,
and beat anyone they could reach
with bats, pipes, and chains.

In Birmingham, the police chief,
Bull Connor, explained why
the riders hadn’t been protected
when everyone knew they were
coming. “It was Mother’s Day,”
he said, “A lot of policemen were
at home with their mothers.”

Joseph Mills

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