Joan Browning, “Freedom Rider,” will appear via Zoom at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church on Sunday, March 26 at 11:45 a.m.
Sponsored by the Anti-Racism Coalition, Browning will speak about her experience in the “Freedom Rider” movement of the mid-20th century.
Born and raised in rural Georgia, Browning started college in 1959 where she became involved in the “Freedom Rider” movement.
Her involvement in the movement, along with her decision to attend a Black church, ultimately led to the revocation of her scholarships and dismissal from college. She traveled the south with a racially mixed group of young people, participating in the sit-in movement and picketing segregated stores and took part in the Atlanta Student Movement sit-ins from 1961 to 1963.
Browning became part of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee which was founded in April 1960 by young people dedicated to nonviolent, direct action tactics.
With other SNCC activists, Browning rode the Central Georgia Railroad as part of a “Freedom Ride” from Atlanta to Albany, Georgia in 1961.
She was arrested in Albany, Georgia. Browning was the only white woman to be arrested and put in jail where she spent five days.
Her autobiographical writings include an article published in the Fall 1996 Journal of Women’s History, “Invisible Revolutionaries: White Women in Civil Rights Movement Historiography” and “Shiloh Witness,” published in Curry, Browning, et. al., Deep in Our Hearts: Nine White Women in the Freedom Movement (University of Georgia Press, 2000).
Browning writes and lectures about growing up four miles from one of the South’s most rabid racist politicians and about finding her way into the 1960’s civil rights movement in the Deep South.
In 2000, Browning received the West Virginia Martin Luther King Jr. “Living the Dream Award”. In 2005, Browning received the Martin Luther King Achievement Award.
Browning will appear at St. Stephen’s via zoom from West Virginia.
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