Journey of Reconciliation

Still Walking for Justice - Welcoming Rally in Chapel Hill

I'm really excited to see this event going on that will highlight several important civil rights threads in our local community, including the Journey of Reconciliation. See this post to learn more about the historic first freedom riders and how they were attacked and arrested in downtown Chapel Hill in 1947

Here's the official flyer:


Commemorating the 65th Anniversary of the 1947 Journey of Reconciliation - The First Freedom Ride

Saturday, November 3, 2012  

10 a.m. Send Off Rally in Durham 
Corner of W. Chapel Hill & Carroll Streets
Pauli Murray Historic Marker

3:30 p.m.  Welcome Rally in Chapel Hill
Corner of W. Columbia and W. Rosemary Streets
Journey of Reconciliation Historic Marke

More Information: 919/613-6167


Nine Teams of Women will be walking from the Pauli Murray Historic Marker in Durham to the 1947 Journey of Reconciliation Historic Marker in Chapel Hill. They will walk for Pauli Murray, Ella Baker and Juanita Nelson who helped plan the 1947 action but could not participate because of their gender. They will also walk for Virginia Williams, Joanne Preiss, Charlotte Adams & Mildred Ringwalt, Ann Atwater and Doris Lyons, local women activists whose stories we need to know. The 1947 Journey, known as the First Freedom Ride prior to the 1961 Freedom Rides, had nine white and black men. It included Bayard Rustin, use non-violent direct action to test the 1946 Irene Morgan v State of Virginia U.S. Supreme Court ruling desegregating interstate bus and train travel. 


Why Are We Still Walking?

The work continues. Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender and Queer rights, voting rights, prisoners’ rights, women’s rights, and civil rights are still on the line and require our vigilance to protect them. The Walk also shows how we can use history to activate memory and motivation for contemporary activism.


Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere
  – Martin Luther King Jr.


Sponsored by the Pauli Murray Project and the Bayard Rustin Centennial Project of the National Black Justice Coalition with support from the Chapel Hill Friends Meeting, the Southern Oral History Program at UNC-CH, Carolwoods Elders for Peace and the Marion Cheek Jackson Center.


Saturday, November 3, 2012 - 10:00am to 3:30pm


Durham to Chapel Hill

Peace for Yonni

Many of you know that local civil rights activist and historian Yonni Chapman has been struggling with cancer. Last night he peacefully ended that battle. Here's part of the touching e-mail that his daughters Sandi and Joyce sent out last night:

Yonni lived his life for The Struggle but has spent the last 29 years with his own intense struggle to live with cancer. His struggle is over, but our struggle continues and what he would want from all of us is to use his passing to renew our commitment to justice, equality and to each other as sisters and brothers. We'd like a few days just to be on our own so we probably won't be answering the phone right away. We'll be organizing a celebration of his life and will contact you all as soon as that plan is made. For now, please just send him your best wishes to speed him on his way home.

Yonni gave so much of himself to this community, and I have no doubt that we are a more just and equitable place because of it. I also think I'm a better person for having been poked, prodded, enlightened, and inspired by his work. 

Chapel Hill gets a historic marker for the first freedom ride

[1947 freedom riders]Did you know that the first civil rights "freedom ride" took place in 1947, fourteen years before the 1961 riders captured the nation's attention by exposing the brutality of Jim Crow in the South? The Journey of Reconciliation was organized by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), which was born at the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), and was led by FOR staff members Bayard Rustin and George Houser.

The interracial group of nine men on the Journey of Reconciliation set out from Washington, D.C. on April 9th, 1947. They met some resistance from passengers and drivers on buses in Virginia and North Carolina. But when they attempted to sit at the front of a bus in Chapel Hill on April 12th, the driver refused, and removed some of the riders by force. They were then attacked by angry cab drivers at the Chapel Hill bus station, and arrested by local police. Their subsequent time serving on a chain gang led Rustin to write about the experience. His serialized journal led to major reforms in the North Carolina prison system.

Screening "You Don't Have to Ride Jim Crow" & discussion of local civil rights history

Co-organized by the Fellowship of Reconciliation and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP, this event will feature one of the creators of the 1995 documentary "You Don't have to Ride Jim Crow," as well as discussion about historic civil rights activism in Chapel Hill. 

Reception at 7:00, film at 7:30.


Thursday, February 26, 2009 - 2:00pm


Horace Williams House, 610 E. Rosemary Street, Chapel Hill

Journey of Reconciliation historic marker unveiling

Saturday, Feb 28:

February 28 Freedom Rider State Highway
Marker Programs And Unveiling Ceremony
Opening Program at Hargraves Recreation Center
NAACP President, Eugene Farrar—Welcome
1947 Freedom Rider, George Hauser—Welcome
Rev. Charles Jones Granddaughter, Karen Abbotts--Welcome
UNC-NOW—Performance Re-enactment of 1947 Freedom Ride in Chapel Hill
Freedom Riders Essay Contest Awards Presentation
March to Dedication Site at Rosemary and Columbia
Signs and Banners, Chants, Song, Photo Boards
Dedication and Unveiling Ceremony
NAACP President, Eugene Farrar—Dedication program
Fred Battle—Unveiling
Town Hall Reception and Program
Cj Suitt—Spoken Word
Tim Tyson—Background and Perspective on 1947 Journey of Reconciliation
Filmmakers Robin Washington and Julia Cheng—DVD, “You Don’t Have to Ride
Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP  
Community Church of Chapel Hill Unitarian Universalist

Partner Organizations
Town of Chapel Hill

Additional events on Thursday, Feb. 26:
5:30 at Sonja Hanes Stone Center.
7:00 at Horace Williams House, organized by the Fellowship of Reconciliation and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP.

More info and context on the week's events at


Saturday, February 28, 2009 - 7:00am to 11:00am


Hargraves Center & Chapel Hill Town Hall



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