George Houser, civil rights veteran, is 99

Anyone reading this knows who Bayard Rustin was. In case you missed the 2012 exhibit on his life and local roots at the Chester County Historical Society, see my observations here.

I wrote an earlier series on Rustin, which included “Bayard Rustin and West Chester.” 2/6/11, and “Bayard Rustin, PBS, and CCHS,” 1/16/12

This photo from a email today from the Fellowship of Reconciliation shows Rustin with George Houser:

Houser and Rustin

I wrote about them in “George Houser / Bayard Rustin / civil rights,” 5/21/11.

Houser and Rustin organized together the very first Freedom Ride to mobilize opinion against racial segregation in interstate commerce in 1947. Rustin would now be 103 years old. Houser is the only survivor today of the 1947 ride, which showed the way to the civil rights era of the 1960s, the 1963 “I have a dream” march (which Rustin organized), the movie Selma, and on to today’s protests and unveiling of seemingly unstoppable national disgraces.

To see what Rustin, with Houser and their courageous colleagues, went through in 1947, along with his inimitable philosophy of positive non-violent action even in a North Carolina prison, read his “Twenty-two days on a chain gang,” which as far as I know can be found online only in an earlier post on my blog.

Houser’s own account of the 1947 ride and its aftermath is “The Freedom Rides: From Project to Mass Movement,” Fellowship of Reconciliation, 5/24/11.

That’s history worth remembering!

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About politicswestchesterview

Nathaniel regards himself as a progressive Democrat who sees a serious need to involve more Americans in the political process if we are to rise to Ben Franklin's challenge "A republic, madam, if you can keep it," after a passerby asked him what form of government the founders had chosen. This blog gives my views and background information on the local, state, and national political scenes. My career in higher education was mainly in the areas of international studies, foreign languages, and student advising, most recently at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, from which I retired in 2006. I have lived in West Chester since 1986.
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