April 26, 2021

Recommended Reading: Personal Stories of the Freedom Riders

Beloit’s ties to a pivotal chapter in the struggle for civil rights.

?The Road South? by B.J. Hollars In The Road South, B.J. Hollars reveals the personal experiences of the 1961 Freedom Riders.

His first chapter focuses on Beloit’s Jim Zwerg’62, one of six white people joining seven Black passengers in challenging segregated bus travel in the Deep South. Zwerg and his fellow protesters were savagely beaten by a mob as they exited a bus in Montgomery, Ala. More about Zwerg is in our 175th anniversary story on page 20.

The Road South was published in 2018 by the University of Alabama Press. Zwerg’s classmate, Barbara Schneider Fuhrmann’62, discovered it last summer while reading tributes to the late Congressman John Lewis, a friend of Zwerg’s and one of the original Freedom Riders.

Writer Ann Bausum’79 forms another Beloit connection to the Freedom Rides. She first reported Zwerg’s story in this magazine in 1989 and went on to write an award-winning young adult book on the subject. Freedom Riders: Jim Zwerg and John Lewis on the Front Lines of the Civil Rights Movement looks at the two men’s childhoods and how their paths intersected through civil rights. It was published by National Geographic Kids in 2005.

Also In This Issue

  • The serenity of Beloit’s campus in fall from the Sanger Center for the Sciences rooftop.

    Beloit is “a bright spot in challenging times”

  • Members of Beloit’s class of 1887 display their top hats at an unidentified photography studio. One hat, owned by classmate Amos Van Tassel, and shown on our cover, still resides in College Archives. We are grateful to Fred Burwell’86, Archivist Emeritus, for finding this photo and assisting with the following stories.

    Hats Off to Beloit

  • Ying Pang’90, shown in 1989, stands in front of Middle College holding a computer science textbook.

    Becoming an International College

  • The Student Army Training Corps’ unit band poses in front of the World Affairs Center. As many as 1,400 student soldiers were in residence at Beloit when the worst of the pandemic hit campus in 1918.

    We’ve Been Here Before: the 1918 Pandemic


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