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 intrepid Mabel Lee (second row, far left) led Beloit’s early physical education program for women with intramural sports such as field hockey, basketball, even rifle shooting. She demanded space for women in athletic facilities, which men were accustomed to dominating, sometimes in the nude. She is shown with the 1923-24 Women’s Athletic Association.

    A Brief History of Women at Beloit

  • “Culture Conscious: Briefings on Culture, Cognition, and Behavior” by Lawrence T. White, Professor

    Culture Conscious: Briefings on Culture, Cognition, and Behavior

  • Student activists take over Middle College, turning it into a Black Cultural Center in 1969.

    Student Activists Make Their Mark

  • Jenni Reinke’05 dances in the historic building her dance-theatre company is bringing back to life.

    Bringing Them Out of the Shadows


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