Sunday, February 7, 2016

Random Civil Rights Moments: James Leonard Farmer Jr.

James Leonard Farmer Jr. was born on January 12th, 1920 in Marshall Texas. He was a damn good student in school and became the first Black to get a doctorate in his state, and was even a college freshman at 14 years old. He earned a divinity degree (didn't know that was a thing) from Howard University, choosing to follow his fathers path. He began to learn about Mahatma Gandhi and his teachings regarding non-violence. 

Eventually Farmer ended up living in Chicago and become a TV screenwriter and writing for a magazine. In 1942 he and some other similar thinking people did a sit-in at a segregated restaurant. They ended up creating the Committee of Racial Equality (CORE) which then became the Congress Of Racial Equality which at the start consisted mostly of Northern Whites. Farmer then began working on the Freedom Rides which were trying to stop segregation while traveling on interstates. The first ride they made in May of 1961 ended with the bus being firebombed after it reached Alabama because 1960's. Members of the group were also beaten and attacked and thanks to television the nation was able to see this. The Interstate Commerce Commission, enforced by Robert Kennedy, an attorney general, made it so that segregation was no longer allowed on public transportation in the South. Farmer resigned after a few years and deaths of his colleagues. He began teaching at Lincoln University, ran for Congress, and eventually worked for the Richard Nixon administration but left that.

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