Freedom Riders Lecture

Freedom Riders Lecture

Civil Rights from St. Louis to Little Rock, and Beyond

  • Friday, January 18, 2013
  • 1:00-3:15 pm
  • A 12:15 pm reception with light refreshments will precede the program
  • Qualifies for 2 Missouri CLE hours
  • Thomas F. Eagleton U.S. Courthouse
  • 28th Floor En Banc Courtroom
  • Click here for a printable flyer

The U.S. Courts and The Judicial Learning Center invite you to an afternoon of learning, exploration and discussion.

FREE and open to the public

Click here to make a reservation

12:15 pm – Reception and Light Refreshments

1:00 pm – Welcome – Thomas E. Wack, Judicial Learning Center Board President and Senior Counsel, Bryan Cave

1:10 pm – Opening Remarks – Frankie Muse Freeman,  St. Louis Attorney, Civil Rights Activist, NAACP 2011 Spingarn Medalist, and 2011 St. Louis Citizen of the Year

1:30 pmAdjoa A. Aiyetoro, Founding Director, University of Arkansas Little Rock Institute on Race and Ethnicity.  Professor Aiyetoro is uniquely qualified to discuss the legal legacy of the Freedom Rides and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, and how this applies to the present-day struggle for human rights.  While segregation by law may no longer be the case in this country, much work remains.  Professor Aiyetoro will explore what this important time in history can teach us today, as practitioners and as citizens, in several emerging areas of law.

2:15 pm – Break

2:25 pmReverend Dr. John C. Raines, 1961 Freedom Rider, Professor of Religion, Emeritus, Temple University.  Join Rev. Dr. Raines as he gives a first-hand account of his experience as a Freedom Rider on the bus from St. Louis to Little Rock in 1961.  He’ll share personal accounts about the civil rights movement of the 1960s, its effects on his life’s work, and its application to the future.

3:15 pm – Optional tours of the Freedom Riders exhibit and the Judicial Learning Center will be available


This program is held in conjunction with the exhibition “Freedom Riders,” on display at the courthouse through January 24, 2013.
“Freedom Riders” is a traveling exhibition developed by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in partnership with AMERICAN EXPERIENCE.  Major funding for the traveling exhibition provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Exclusive corporate funding for AMERICAN EXPERIENCE is provided by Liberty Mutual. Major funding provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Additional funding provided by Lynn Bay Dayton, Rodger & Dawn Nordblom, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and public television viewers.

Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayetteville.

In 1961, over 400 brave people risked their lives to challenge segregated facilities in the South. Old and young, black and white, men and women, Northern and Southern, all got on the bus together to participate in the Freedom Rides, to test recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions against segregated interstate bus travel.

On July 10, 1961, a bus left from St. Louis headed to Little Rock, Arkansas. The Reverend John Curtis Raines of Long Island, NY, was one of five riders on that bus. The others were civil rights activist Rev. Benjamin Elton Cox, St. Louis public school teacher Bliss Anne Malone, St. Louis student Annie Lumpkin, and New York artist Janet Reinitz.  When they arrived in Little Rock that evening, they were all arrested after refusing to leave the bus terminal. They were released later that week and continued on to New Orleans.

In 2011, on the 50th anniversary of this journey, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock launched their Institute on Race and Ethnicity to continue to work of the Civil Rights Movement.  The Founding Director, Adjoa A. Aiyetoro, J.D., is a law professor and social activist originally from St. Louis. The 2011 launch of the Institute included a celebration and commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Riders coming from St. Louis to Little Rock. The University and the Institute have done extensive work to research and document this important regional event and its importance to the Civil Rights Movement and beyond.

Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayetteville.


About the Speakers

The Honorable Frankie Muse Freeman, Esq, was born in Danville, Virginia. She received her undergraduate training at Hampton University and her legal training at Howard University. She moved to St. Louis in 1948, and she opened her solo law practice here in 1949. She practiced law continuously from 1948 to her retirement in 2009. In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson nominated Ms. Freeman to become the first woman to serve as a Commissioner of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. She served in that position until 1980. During the Carter administration, she served as Inspector General of the Community Services Administration.  In 1982, she joined 15 other former high federal officials who formed a bipartisan Citizens Commission on Civil Rights. She recently retired from private practice law with Montgomery Hollie & Associates, but remains active in many organizations and causes. In 2003 she published her memoir, A Song of Faith and Hope: The Life of Frankie Muse Freeman.


Adjoa A. Aiyetoro, J.D., is the inaugural Director of the University of Arkansas Little Rock, Institute on Race and Ethnicity. She is also an Associate Professor of Law at the University’s William H. Bowen School of Law. Professor Aiyetoro has extensive experience working domestically and internationally to obtain remedies for historical and present day wrongs to people of color, women and other oppressed groups. Aiyetoro has displayed a passion for racial justice throughout her career as a social worker, lawyer in the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, and Director of Administration at the ACLU Foundation’s National Prison Project.   She is a lifetime member of the National Conference of Black Lawyers and has served on its Board of Directors, as Co-Chairperson of its Board and as its National Director.

Born in St. Louis, MO, Aiyetoro went to the Washington University George Warren Brown School of Social Work in St. Louis as a graduate student and began a career as a social worker. There, she worked to desegregate the maternity ward at Barnes Hospital, where Medicaid patients – most of them black – were relegated to the second floor and isolated during segregation. She attended law school at Saint Louis University School of Law.


Reverend John Curtis Raines, Ph.D., is a professor of religion at Temple University in Philadelphia, where he has been employed since 1966. During his time there, Dr. Raines has been Chair of the Department of Religion, President of the Interfaith Council on the Holocaust of Philadelphia, and host of the long-running Sunday morning talk show, “Dialogue,” on ABC in Philadelphia.  He is an accomplished lecturer, author and Fulbright Senior Scholar, and is the recipient of numerous grants and awards. Dr. Raines received the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching in 2006. He is the Co-Founder of the Center for Religious and Cross-Cultural Studies at Gadjah Mada University in Indonesia, and he teaches regularly in Indonesia and Malaysia.

In 1961, as a young Methodist minister from Long Island, NY, Reverend Raines became a Freedom Rider. He rode a bus from St. Louis, MO to Little Rock, AR, where he was arrested and jailed for his participation. He remained active in the Civil Rights Movement as a voter registration worker in 1964 and 1965, which also caused him to be arrested and jailed.  He refers to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s as his “second education.”