Freedom Rider Visits Dothan

By: Victoria Rosa Email
By: Victoria Rosa Email

Catherine Burks-Brooks stopped by the George Washington Carver Museum to tell her first hand account as a Freedom Rider.

I got to sit down and speak with Brooks and she said she knew from a young age that she wanted to make right, what was wrong.

Brooks says being a part of the movement was something she was born to do.

"I always knew something was wrong and that it needed to be straightened out, " said Brooks.

With that mentality, Brooks got training with her fellow riders.

Non violent training that taught them how to overcome fear and bring about change.

When the hand cuffs went on May 28th 1961, Brooks says it was actually something she was looking forward to.

"There were no fear there and we had been taught about this and we had planned for it and it was my thing. It was something i had been waiting on all my life since the 5th grade, " said Brooks.

Change that didn't come without resistance.

"In one of the beating that I saw...I saw the blood running down their faces after being hit across the head and that was a terrible scene,"

Despite the circumstances, Brooks knew it was more than just riding buses, it was a ride to freedom.

"i knew one thing, that i didn't like our conditions and i wanted to do something about it,".

Brooks said she often gets the question, did her family try to stop her; she says because they knew the kind of person she was, they didn't even try.

Brooks says the movement wouldn't have been possible without everyday citizens who helped in ways such as giving them a place to stay...Or a ride from one location to the next.


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