Freedom Riders National Monument opening in Anniston

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April 29 2021 07:00 pm

ANNISTON, Ala. (AP) — The old Greyhound bus depot in Anniston is opening for the first time as the Freedom Riders National Monument four years after it was established.

The National Park Service said a traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution will be on display as the attraction holds its inaugural opening for visitors on Saturday. The display is about the Poor People’s Campaign that drew thousands of people to Washington, D.C., in 1968.

Located about 65 miles east of Birmingham, the monument recognizes the story of activists who set out as “Freedom Riders” six decades ago to test continuing racial segregation and public accommodations on interstate bus lines.

A bus was stopped by a white mob in Anniston while traveling from Atlanta to Birmingham on May 14, 1961. Attackers beat the Freedom Riders and set fire to the bus on a roadside a few miles outside Anniston, drawing national attention to racial violence and hatred in the segregated South.

Then-President Barack Obama created the national monument in one of his final acts in office in January 2017. Similarly, Birmingham’s downtown civil rights district was recognized as a national monument, and work continues there to renovate a motel that served as an operations base for the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. during demonstrations.

The Anniston monument will be open during the day on weekends, the park service said.

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