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

  • Fran Stahr’51 was one of five players known as the “Bucket Brigade” on Beloit’s pivotal 1950-51 team. Then-student Ray Metzker’53, who later became a revered art photographer, captured it all.

    A Decade of Dominance and Half a Century of Success

    more
  • “Toys in the Age of Wonder: Science Fiction, Society, and the Symbolism of Play” by Mark Rich’80

    Toys in the Age of Wonder: Science Fiction, Society, and the Symbolism of Play

    more
  • The St. Paul Gophers, shown in 1909, preceded what were called the “Negro Leagues” by about a decade. They and other Black barnstorming teams played at an undeniably high level but in the shadow of the white major leagues.

    Baseball Historian John Thorn’68 Applauds Inclusion of the Negro Leagues

    more
  • “Of One Blood All Nations” by Sam Kidder’70

    Of One Blood All Nations

    more

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