On this day in 1947, the Journey of Reconciliation started. Eight black and eight white men who road interstate buses into segregated states. These would later be called “freedom rides.” A year earlier, in Irene Morgan v Commonwealth of Virginia, the Supreme Court (in the 6-1 decision), found that segregated interstate buses were an “undue burden on commerce.” But the southern states refused to follow the law, and these sixteen men were protesting to get the states to follow the federal law.
This is one of the many funny things about libertarians. They have this idea that if you just leave people alone, everyone will get along just fine. Well, the federal courts can determine one thing, but if the local governments don’t follow along, nothing happens. It is just might makes right, which is why African Americans were stopped from voting for such a long time. But if only there were no government, then the mighty would respect the rights of the weak, right?
Anyway, the men were abused and arrested various places. In particular, some of the men were arrested in North Carolina. At sentencing, the good Christian Judge Henry Whitfield told the defendants, “It’s about time you Jews from New York learned that you can’t come down here bringing your niggers with you to upset the customs of the South. Just to teach you a lesson, I gave your black boys thirty days, and I give you ninety.” I can’t find out anything about this judge, but you can depend upon the fact that he had a good life and never had to rethink his bigotry.
Anyway, 69 years ago, the Journey of Reconciliation started. It lasted for two weeks. The struggle for freedom is a slow and difficult one.