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A group of New York postmen set off on foot from the General Post Office to deliver mail in New York City at Christmas, circa 1955.

By Jonathan Sanger, NBC News

Published at 2:10 p.m. ET: The United States Postal Service announced on Wednesday that they will stop Saturday mail deliveries. Email and other forms of electronic communication have made a big dent in the Postal Service's bottom line. From its early start delivering mail on horseback to testing Segways on mail routes, the 273-year-old agency has evolved quite a bit since its beginning.

Marion Post Wolcott/U.S. Farm Security Administration; Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A rural mailman travels up a creek bed toward Morris Fork near Jackson, Ky., in August 1940.; K. Ng rides a Segway on his mail route in July 2002 in San Francisco.

National Photo Co.; Scott Olson/Getty Images

Postal workers sort mail in a Washington, D.C., post office circa 1920.; Bobbi Crump moves mail on a conveyor at the USPS Chicago Logistics and Distribution Center in December 2012.

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Slideshow: U.S. Postal Service then and now

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Take a look at the how the USPS has evolved since its beginning.

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Mustafah Abdulaziz is surrounded by the same landscape, lit by the same saturating afternoon light as the rest of us, but sees things differently, capturing “the scene that strives to appear one way but looks to me another.” Memory Loss is about how people appear in an environment that is so familiar to them that they stop seeing and consequently, forget how they appear in it.

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Conversation with Michael “Nick” Nichols

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David Alan Harvey: Now the thing is that you were a photographer first. When I met you, you were a Magnum photographer. Now you   are Editor at Large at National Geographic. Pretty obvious though, this doesn’t seem to be an office job.

Michael “Nick” Nichols: I’m only a photographer.

DAH: You’re only a photographer. Well no you’re more than that. You do other things.

MN: But it all comes from photography.

DAH: I know it all comes from photography, but what I want to talk about, in today’s world, and you evolved your photography and also into the…well you created the Look3 festival for one thing which is for other photographers beside yourself. So, you do a lot of stuff outside, you teach workshops.

MN: And that’s since you and I are so joined at the hip because we both for some reason feel it is important to give it back to the next generation.

DAH: Why did we ever think that was a good idea?

MN: The reason it happened to me was because Charles Moore, my start came from somebody else saying, oh I’m going to help out this kid.

DAH: Right.

MN: And I like that, so I’ve always felt that it’s important. And history is important to me, so building on something and not leaving it behind…if I meet a young photographer that doesn’t know Alex Webb’s work, or your’s or Eugenes, I’m like, well what are you doing? You’ve got to build on stuff.

DAH: That’s right. So Charles Moore helped you and then when he did that you felt like payback some day when you made it.

MN: Yeah.

DAH: Yeah, same for me. I felt that way when I was at my first Missouri workshop. These Life magazine and National Geographic photographers were looking at my contact sheets and I thought well, that’s just the coolest thing…If I make it, I’m paying back too. So we’re similar that way.

MN: And just in full disclosure, I love you dearly, your one of my best friends, I never get to see you, I’ve followed Burn from the beginning although I’m not part of Burn. You know, I’m fully supportive of everything you do even if I’m not there.

DAH: You are part of Burn.

MN: You know this is my first appearance in Burn…this interview. But I’ve been with Burn from the beginning because I believe in what your doing. Always. And I know that you’re with me when I’m with the lions. Somewhere there.

DAH: Oh, always with you when your with the lions.

MN: Were going to some day sit on the porch and do what we say were gonna do.

DAH: Yeah, the only problem we’ve got is that for some reason we’re like work-aholics or something. We can’t get to that porch. You’ve got a nice porch to sit on. We’ve done some of that during Look3 and previous visits to your house. And you’ve come down and visited my family at the beach and I got an extra bedroom for you at my house, so you’re welcome.

MN: And that’s the other thing…my family feels like your part of our family.

DAH: Well we feel that way about each other, yes.

MN: And your kids treat me as if I’m part of the family. So I want everybody to know that we’re not just casual acquaintances.

DAH: Well that’s right, that’s right.

MN: Yeah.

DAH: I mean and we have a lot of fun together. Somehow we always manage to have a lot of fun together. And a lot of laughs, but you’re way different from me in one respect because, and Bryan has even told me this, Bryan who went to the Ndoki with you and made his first film on you on the Ndoki, told me…basically told me that well, Nick works way harder than you do Dad. And I think there’s no doubt about that. When I look at the films, when I look at the stuff, the logistics, the things that you have to deal with to get those pictures, you have to go through a whole lot of logistical stuff before you can even begin to take…

MN: Easily by the time I get to an assignment I’m completely exhausted because of the money I had to raise, all the gear I had to put together, all the…this last one’s 50 boxes going to Tanzania, two years of fundraising, you know, literally almost 10 years of talking about lions, and then you, of course, your pictures have to start to live up to all the hype that you’ve…not hype…whatever you’ve done to…and if I had to say who my favorite photographer on earth was, it would be a battle between Alex and Eugene because I love that complexity. And to do that in natural history is incredibly difficult. So, you know, I’m not satisfied with a telephoto lens but sometimes that’s where you are. So, it’s incredibly difficult technically, but I don’t want anybody to see the technical when they see the picture. You know, when they look at that tree, if they’re thinking about how we put it together, than I missed them. I didn’t do it right. It’s supposed to be spiritual. And so I’m trying to get back to the simplicity that David Alan Harvey uses in his photography. But the level of work that takes…but you know the part about working so hard is I am incredibly driven. You know, I drive myself to collapse, and the only other person I can compare that to is Jim, on the fact that we’ll work ourself till we die, but I don’t know any other way. I don’t know half. I don’t know thirty percent. That’s why I’m gonna quit, because I can’t figure out how to slow down.

DAH: But you’ve been saying “i quit” for a long time.

MN: Yeah but I’m serious. When I said last waltz, what I mean literally is that, like they did, they didn’t quit playing music, or I’m not going to be a National Geographic’s guy after this project and I’m not going to move on to the next project. I’ll extend this one as long as I can, but then I want to go back and say, can I be David? Can I be simple? Because there’s too much volume in what I do. There’s too much noise.

DAH: There’s a lot of moving parts to what you do.

MN: Yeah, and the stress level and the fact that I’ve got this incredible woman in my life, who has been there for the whole trip, and you know you can fuck that up, and I survived all the chances to fuck it up. And so the fact that she’s still with me and we’re tighter now than we’ve ever been.

DAH: Well I see that, I see that, it’s amazing. Well Reba is an amazing woman and you’ve been gone, you’ve been out in the jungle, you’ve been in the top of a tree for months at a time, and she’s still there when you get back. Part of it probably is that she’s an artist herself.

MN: She was attracted to me because I was an artist and I was attracted to her because she was an artist. So we support the obsession of being an artist. And I, you know, people can cut and slice any way they want, I was gone while the kids were growing and I didn’t get penalized for that. You can get penalized for that. But now that they’ve grown, I’m sitting there with them. I’m with them.

DAH: No I see that, I see that. Well let me just go back just for a second here because when I met you, I mean now you’re a senior editor, what is your exact title? Editor at large?

MN: I’m Editor at Large.

DAH: Ahhh busted, you had to stop and think about your title Nick. Size does matter.

MN: Laughing..Well no, because I work so hard to get that word staff photographer off my title. I hate that word. It’s venom to me. You know, because it means ownership. I’m not owned by anybody. I assure you that. I’m milking this place like nobody in the history of photography.

DAH: No, no, don’t  worry  this is an honest conversation…. it is too late for either of us to get fired.

MN: Well, I’ve given them more than I got.

DAH: Well of course you have and they know that. That goes without saying. They know that.

MN: But I like the tone of editor at large because what that means is not in the office. It means out there. So I fought really hard for that title.

DAH: And you’re keeping readers for them too. You’re good business.

MN: Some of my colleagues think that I’m old. I’m not old.

DAH: David Alan Harvey doesn’t think you’ve ever been old. When I met you, you gotta remember, you were a Magnum photographer when I met you and you shifted from Magnum to National Geographic, from an institutional standpoint, spiritually you are a Magnum photographer. Funny how we literally “traded places”..But you needed the capital resourcing. Period.

MN: Yeah exactly, Magnum is in my DNA.

DAH: But the thing is, I can go out and do my thing for ten dollars and where I need ten dollars you need a hundred thousand dollars, therefore you needed the National Geographic behind you. NatGeo has been good to you…and to me.

MN: And I can’t justify what I do if I’m not reaching the planet. I gotta have a huge audience because my work is about saving the planet, you know. Its not about me, its about tigers and elephants and stuff like that. So if I didn’t have this microphone, I’d just be pissing into the wind. This is the only place on earth that I can do what I do.

DAH: That’s right. Ok Chris (Johns) in his article was talking about being driven. I feel driven, and sometimes I feel like it’s a burden almost to be driven because you can’t get off of it. When you were a kid, I saw a picture of you in the 4th or 5th grade in Alabama. That’s where you’re from.

MN: Yeah

DAH: That’s where Reba is from.

MN: Yeah, that’s why I’m called Nick. My best friend’s growing up we’re Bubba, Fuzzy, and Stevie Wonder.

DAH: My nickname was Heavenly.  I know your mother. Partied with your mother and you and the gang. I photographed you and your mother together for my family project. Where’s that drive coming from? What’s the nut of that thing? Where’s that fire coming from? Where’s that work ethic coming from?

MN: Fear, first off.

DAH: Fear works.

MN: Fear of failure. I’d love for people to understand that no matter where you get it, if your not afraid, something’s wrong with you. Every time you go out, you should be afraid. But then the work ethic of being poor…my mom raised us, my dad left when I was a kid, she’s had no education, and my dad was in the picture but he always thought, your just a lazy hippy. You know, I’m obsessive, I’m obsessive compulsive and photography gives me a….

DAH: a kind of  hippy.

MN: I’m definitely a hippy.

DAH: And yet you’ve got a work ethic.

MN: I’ve got a pop side to me. My stories are very popular. I can tell you that the readers love them.

DAH: Oh yeah, I love them too.

MN: But the work thing is…I don’t know anything else. That’s the problem. I don’t know how to turn it down. Once that train left the station, and I got on it, I haven’t figured out how to ever get off.


Photo taken by Kyle George

View Nicks personal website at or go directly to his iPad app here.

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LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph





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A half-century ago, much of the world was in a broad state of change: We were moving out of the post-World War II era, and into both the Cold War and the Space Age, with broadening civil rights movements and anti-nuclear protests in the U.S. In 1961, John F. Kennedy was inaugurated as the 35th president of the United States, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to fly in space, Freedom Riders took buses into the South to bravely challenge segregation, and East Germany began construction of the Berlin Wall. That year, Kennedy gave the okay to the disastrous Bay of Pigs Invasion into Cuba and committed the U.S. to "landing a man on the Moon" with NASA's Apollo program. JFK also oversaw the early buildup of a U.S. military presence in Vietnam: by the end of 1961, some 2,000 troops were deployed there. Let me take you 50 years into the past now, for a look at the world as it was in 1961. [50 photos]

John F. Kennedy speaks for the first time as President of the United States in front of the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on January 20, 1961, during the inaugural ceremonies. (AP Photo)

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In 1944, a 27-year-old black woman named Irene Morgan boarded a Greyhound bus in Gloucester, Virginia to return home to Baltimore, Maryland after visiting her mother. She took a seat in the “colored section” near the back of the bus but when some white riders boarded the bus and needed a seat, she was told to stand. Morgan refused and the driver drove straight to the town jail where a Sheriff boarded the bus and arrested her. During her trail, where she represented herself, Morgan refused to plead guilty, saying she was traveling on an interstate bus and she was not subject to state laws mandating segregation.

Eventually, with representation from the NAACP, Irene Morgan vs. The Commonwealth of Virginia was brought before the US Supreme Court. The court ruled in Morgan’s favor, striking down segregated seating in interstate travel. Despite this ruling, Southern states refused to integrate interstate travel, preserving separate waiting rooms, restrooms, food counters and bus and train seating. In the decades that followed, civil rights activists began testing the enforcement of the Supreme Court’s ruling, leading up to the first “official” Freedom Riders in 1961.

The Freedom Riders were mostly college students, blacks and whites, who set out on Greyhound and Trailways buses across the South to test a U.S. Supreme Court decision banning segregation in interstate transportation. That meant no more separate waiting rooms or water fountains designated for white and colored.

After one bus was firebombed near Anniston and the Ku Klux Klan threatened and beat Freedom Riders in Birmingham, U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy secured a promise from Patterson to have state troopers protect the group’s bus from Birmingham to Montgomery. City police were supposed to take up the job once they crossed the city line.

Patterson kept his word, with state trooper cars and a helicopter guarding the bus.

But when they reached Montgomery’s Greyhound station, police were not there. Instead, an angry crowd fueled by Klansmen beat them, journalists and a Justice Department official – John Seigenthaler, later a well-known newspaper editor – after he came to the riders’ aid.

Freedom Rider Catherine Burks-Brooks of Birmingham, now 71, said one scene will stay with her forever, revealing the depth of hatred on their attackers’ faces and in their words.

“To see the expressions on white women’s faces screaming, ‘Kill the niggers. Kill the niggers.’ That sticks with me,” she said.

Follow their story below in photographs.

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


Police Lt. Beavers Armstrong places a segregation sign in front of the Illinois Central Railroad Jan. 9, 1956, after the railroad removed segregation signs from waiting rooms in compliance with an Interstate Commerce Commission order. Mississippi State law requires segregated facilities at rail depots so Jackson, Miss. police will enforce the state law. The sign reads, "Waiting Room for White Only." (AP Photo) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


Years before the Freedom Riders boarded buses on May 4, 1961, bus integration laws were being tested in the South. Six days after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Montgomery city buses must integrate, the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth and others challenged the law in Birmingham, Ala., by joining white passengers on a city bus, Dec. 26, 1956. Shuttlesworth boarded the bus hours after a bomb exploded inside his Collegeville, Ala., house. (AP Photo/The Birmingham News, Robert Adams) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


The Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, right, is stopped before entering the whites only waiting room at the Bus Terminal March 6, 1957, in Birmingham, Ala. This photo was made one day after the Alabama Public Service Commission ruled that the waiting rooms must remain segregated. Shuttlesworth informed the media of his plans to integrate the waiting rooms and was followed by reporters, photographers and a white mob estimated at more than 100. After being told that he was not wanted inside, Shuttlesworth replied: "It's not up to you to tell me where to go." ( AP Photo/The Birmingham News, Robert Adams) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


After years of challenging bus segregation by various civil rights groups in the South, CORE (Congress of racial Equality) members from Washington, DC decided to test the enforcement of the Supreme Court's anti-segregation rulings on interstate travel. Members of an interracial group pose in Washington, with a map of a route they planned to take to test segregation in bus terminal restaurants and rest rooms in the South, May 4, 1961. From left are: Edward Blankenheim, Tucson, Ariz.; James Farmer, New York City; Genevieve Hughes, Chevy Chase, Md.; the Rev. B. Elton Cox, High Point, N.C., and Henry Thomas, St. Augustine, Fla. They are all members of CORE, the organization sponsoring the trip. The original group of thirteen freedom riders (seven black, six white) left Washington, DC, bound for New Orleans on two buses, a Greyhound and a Trailways bus, with stops in Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi. (AP Photo/Byron Rollins) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


The first couple days of the trip for the Freedom Riders, with stops in Virginia and North and South Carolina were relatively uneventful. Several white men attacked members of the group in Rock Hill, South Carolina but the fight was quickly broken up by police. When the buses stopped in Atlanta, Georgia, they were greeted by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. King warned the leaders that he had heard of Klan members planning something at the next stop in Anniston, Alabama. On Sunday, May 15, 1961, as the Greyhound bus carrying the Freedom Riders pulled into the Anniston station, a group of white men surrounded the bus. One unidentified white man sat in front of Greyhound bus to prevent it from leaving the station while the others broke bus windows and punctured the bus bus tires shouting, "Let's kill these niggers and nigger-lovers." (AP Photo) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


After the bus left the Anniston station, a car swerved ahead on the highway and began weaving from side to side to prevent the bus from getting by. The tires, punctured by the mob at the station, went flat. Another mob gathered around the stranded bus, breaking more windows. Someone in the mob threw a fire bomb into the bus, setting it ablaze with the riders inside. The mob barricaded themselves against the bus door, preventing the riders from escaping. Believing the fire was about to cause an explosion in the gas tank, the mob backed off, allowing the riders to pour out of the burning bus. The mob then began attacking the Freedom Riders until Highway Patrolmen arrived to disperse the mob. (AP Photo/str) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


Continuing display of Ku Klux Klan signs on U.S. highways in violation of federal regulations, the American Veterans Committee charges, typifies the wide-open activities of racists that erupted recently in the attack on Freedom Riders in Montgomery, Ala. Display of signs, such as this one photographed on U.S. Highway 31 outside of Montgomery violates the regulations of the Bureau of Public Roads, U.S. Dept. of Commerce. (AP Photo/American Veterans Committee) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


After the Greyhound was burned outside Anniston, Alabama, the Trailways bus continued on to the Birmingham station, unaware of the Greyhound's fate. Birmingham, run by the head of the Police Department, Bull Connor, had what most believed to be the worse race relations of any city in the country. Connor had made an agreement with the KKK to give the Klan time to attack the Freedom Riders at the bus station before the police would arrive to break up the mob. As the buses pulled into the station and the first Freedom Riders debarked, the mob attacked. After the Klanmen began to brutally beat the riders, photographer Tommy Langston took this photograph causing the mob to turn on him as well. The mob dispersed and moved down the street about ten minutes after the attack began, right before the police arrived. (AP Photo/Birmingham Post-Herald, Tommy Langston, File) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


Eugene "Bull" Connor, former Birmingham, Ala., police commissioner and fiery segregationist, seen here during a speech in to the Tuscaloosa County White Citizens Council in Tuscaloosa, Ala., June 8, 1963. Connor was urging the audience to stay away from the University of Alabama campus June 11, when two African Americans are scheduled to enroll. Connor was the Commissioner of Public Safety for the city of Birmingham during the initial Freedom Rides in 1961. Connor became an international symbol of bigotry for his stance on segregation. (AP Photo/William A. Smith) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


As some of the riders were released from the hospital, they gathered at the Greyhound Terminal in the bus station in Birmingham, Ala., on May 15, 1961, to discuss what to do next. At the urging of injured Rider, James Peck, the group decided to continue on their original route but drivers refused to operate the bus for fear of future violence. The Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth (center) and Freedom Riders discussed plans after drivers refused to carry them any farther. Surrounding Shuttlesworth, clockwise from left: Ed Blankenheim, kneeling, Charles Person, Ike Reynolds, James Peck, Rev. Benjamin Cox, and two unidentified Freedom Riders. (AP Photo/The Birmingham News) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


With no drivers left to take them anywhere, the Freedom Riders resigned to the fact that they would need to abandon their plans to take buses to New Orleans. The Freedom Riders went to the airport to leave Birmingham. The mob followed the Riders to the airport and someone called in a bomb threat to the airlines. Eventually the Freedom Riders departed the airport and arrived in New Orleans. Here, James Peck, official of Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), shows the effects of the beating he received in Birmingham, Ala., as he answers questions at press conference in New York City, May 17, 1961. Press interview took place in the office of the ILGWU (International Ladies Garment Workers Union). (AP Photo/Jacob Harris) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


As the Freedom Riders resigned to the fact that their ride was over, students from Nashville, Tennessee, led by Diane Nash, seen here in a photograph from 1960, gathered to take up where the original Freedom Riders ended their ride. To take up the Freedom Rides, the students had to choose to drop out of school to head to Birmingham. Ten students were chosen to continue the Ride. (AP Photo) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


After arriving in Birmingham, the Nashville group of Freedom Riders are promptly arrested by the order of Bull Connor. Connor declared they were being arrested for their own protection. The group was taken to the Birmingham City Jail. (AP Photo) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


President John F. Kennedy and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy attempt to reach Gov. John Patterson of Alabama, seen here at a civil rights subcommittee hearing in 1959, to discuss the situation in Birmingham. The Governor refuses to speak with the President. (AP Photo) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


On May 18, 1961, in the middle of the night, Bull Connor takes the Freedom Riders out of jail, drives them to the state line and drops the Freedom Riders off near a train station. The Freedom Riders make their way back to the bus station in Birmingham the next day. The Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth (pointing), Birmingham integration leader, talks with students in the white waiting room on Wednesday, May 18, 1961 in Birmingham bus station. At right is Mary McCollum, 21, of Snyder, N.Y., a student at Peabody College in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


s the first group of Freedom Riders made their way back to the station in Birmingham, they meet up with the second group of Riders from Nashville. Both groups become stranded at the station as drivers refuse to board the buses. Here, the group of Freedom Riders from Tennessee stands at the door of a Greyhound bus in Birmingham, Ala., on May 19, 1961. Drivers refused to take the racially mixed group out and after a wait of about two hours the college students tried to board another bus going the same way. The second bus was also cancelled. (AP Photo) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


Three members of a racially mixed group of college student "freedom riders" catch a nap on May 20, 1961 in the Birmingham bus station after they were thwarted several times in attempts to board busses to Montgomery. Left to right are Susan Hermann, Etta Simpson and Frederick Leonard. All attend college in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Horace Cort) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


PResident John F. Kennedy sends John Seigenthaler, right, to Alabama to meet with Governor Patterson to ensure the Riders safety. Here, Seigenthaler chats with Charles Meriwether in Montgomery, May 21, 1961. (AP Photo) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


As the Freedom Riders' bus leaves Birmingham, it is escorted by police officers and a police helicopter but as the bus approaches the Montgomery bus station, the police and helicopter leave the bus. As the bus arrived at the Montgomery station, a mob awaited them. The mob first went after reporters and cameramen, throwing them down on the ground and smashing their cameras. Then the mob turned on the Freedom Riders. Jim Zwerg, the only white male student among a group of Freedom Riders, stands bloody in Montgomery, AL, May 20, 1961, after he was beaten at the bus station. The police present did nothing. (AP Photo/Montgomery Advertiser) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


The calm on Dexter Avenue in Montgomery, Ala., May 22, 1961, belies the rioting that took place a mile away after a mob attacked civil rights workers last night. At the end of the street is the State Capitol building. (AP Photo) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


Robert F. Kennedy, U.S. Attorney General and brother of President John F. Kennedy, sits at the Justice Department as he works with aides considering legal measures to be taken following racial violence in Montgomery, Ala., May 21, 1961, Washington, D.C. The riot was touched off by a freedom ride test by mixed whites and African Americans arriving there from Birmingham, Ala., May 20. He ordered a task force of U.S. Marshals and Byron R. White, Deputy U.S. Attorney General, to the area to safeguard federal rights. (AP Photo/Byron Rollins) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


After the Freedom Riders were beaten by a mob at the Montgomery station, federal marshals assembled by Gov. Patterson, wearing bright yellow arm bands, are sent in to keep the calm at the terminal. (AP Photo/Horace Cort) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


Jim Zwerg, a Freedom Rider, recuperates in a hospital on May 21, 1961 in Montgomery, Ala. after he was beaten by a mob at the bus station the day before. Zwerg, 21, a ministerial student, suffered cuts and bruises and lost several teeth in the attack. (AP Photo/Horace Cort) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


The Preseident orders that U.S. Marshals be assembled and sent to keep order in Montgomery. U.S. Marshals, sent to Montgomery, Alabama, May 21, 1961, after a mob attacked integrated bus riders, keep an eye on the bus station with binoculars from atop the federal building. (AP Photo) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


In response to the violence, the Civil Rights leaders call for a meeting at Rev. Ralph Abernathy's Church in Montgomery, Alabama. Among others, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Jim Farmer, and Rev. Shuttlesworth, came to support the Freedom Riders. Governor Patterson objects to the Marshals and the Civil Rights leaders coming to Montgomery, telling them to go home and mind their own business. Federal Marshals stood watch in Montgomery, Ala. on May 21, 1961 at the Black First Baptist Church as evening services start. The church, whose pastor was integration leader Rev. Ralph Abernathy, would be the scene for the Freedom Riders to announce their future plans. 1,500 people packed the Church. (AP Photo/Horace Cort) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


A mob gathers outside the Church about an hour into the meeting. The mob throws rocks into the Church windows and set fire to cars outside the Church. The U.S. Marshals are sent to the Church to protect the people at the meeting but are ill-prepared to do so. Steel helmeted troopers armed with riot guns move in on a mob which gathered at the Black First Baptist Church on May 21, 1961 in Montgomery, Ala. where an integration rally was being held. (AP Photo/Horace Cort) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


A car burns after being overturned on a street a block from Rev. Abernathy's Church on May 21, 1961 in Montgomery, Ala. (AP Photo/Horace Cort) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


A group of U.S. Marshals stands outside an African American church to hold off a mob during integration rally, May 21, 1961, Montgomery, Ala. In the background an automobile burns after being overturned by the mob. (AP Photo/Horace Cort) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


Several Blacks standing in the back of the congregation during church rally step out the front door after a tear gas bomb exploded nearby during mob violence on May 21, 1961 in Montgomery, Ala. (AP Photo/Horace Cort) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


Meeting attendants are told they cannot leave the Church for fear of what the mob outside would do. The crowd in the first Baptist Church gets comfortable in the pews on May 23, 1961 in Montgomery, Ala. as they wait for their own safety to leave an integration rally. A riot swirled around the church. (AP Photo/ Horace Cort) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


(L-R) Rev. Ralph Abernathy and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. sit pensively after communicating with Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy while they await protection from the gathered mob outside the First Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. (Photo by Paul Schutzer/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, following the Montgomery, Ala., race riot situation by phone through the night, talks with Gov. John Patterson after uncontrolled mob set fire to cars in front of church where Civil Rights Movement leaders were meeting, May 22, 1961, Washington, D.C. Tear gas was used to scatter crowds outside. (AP Photo/Bob Schutz) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy convinces Gov. John Patterson to declare martial law. The National Guard arrives at the Church to ensure the people inside could return home safely. A National Guard sergeant passes out ammunition from a military truck on May 23, 1961 in Montgomery, Ala. after martial law was declared. (AP Photo/Horace Cort) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


A detachment of National Guardsmen patrols past the Black First Baptist Church on May 23, 1961 in Montgomery after martial law was declared following racial riots. (AP Photo/Horace Cort) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


National Guardsmen button up the tailgate of a military truck as they began taking Blacks home from the beleaguered church on May 22, 1961 in Montgomery. Ala. (AP Photo/Horace Cort) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


National Guardsmen stand across the street from the Black First Baptist Church in Montgomery on May 22, 1961 at sunrise following a night of racial violence and tension. The city was placed under martial law after mobs of white people threatened an integration meeting in the church. (AP Photo/Horace Cort) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


After martial law was declared in Montgomery, the National Guard keeps watch over the white waiting room outside the Montgomery bus station on May 22, 1961. (AP PHOTO) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


Civil rights leaders hold a news conference in Montgomery, Ala. and announce that the Freedom Rides will continue, May 23, 1961. In the foreground is John Lewis, one of the riders who was beaten. Others, left to right: James Farmer, Rev. Ralph Abernathy and Rev. Martin Luther King. Lewis wears bandage on head. (AP Photo) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., center, African American integration leader, announces that Freedom Riders still plan a bus trip to New Orleans via Mississippi, Tuesday, May 24, 1961, Montgomery, Ala. Left is the Rev. Ralph Abernathy in whose Montgomery home they are shown during the announcement. More riders were reported to be arriving to replace some whose trip ended in a Montgomery bus station race clash a few days before. (AP Photo) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


Freedom riders stand at the ticket counter of the bus station in Montgomery, Alabama, May 24, 1961 as they purchase tickets to continue their ride through the south. At center is integration leader Rev. Martin Luther King. (AP Photo) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


Black Freedom Riders have breakfast at a lunch counter in the bus station in Montgomery, Ala., on May 24, 1961. It was the first time the eating facilities were used by Black travelers. The group was preparing to board buses bound for Jackson, Miss., and New Orleans, La., on their Freedom Ride movement to test the effectiveness of the 1960 Supreme Court ruling on integration. (AP Photo) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


Troops of National Guardsmen stand on duty at the Trailways bus station on May 24, 1961 in Montgomery, Ala. as Freedom Riders plan to resume their bus trips through the south. (AP Photo/Horace Cort) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


A new bus load of Freedom Riders, including four white college professors and three African American students, arrives in Montgomery, Alabama, May 24, 1961, under guard of police and National Guard. Center, with glasses, is Rev. William S. Coffin, Jr. At left, partly hidden, is Dr. David E. Swift, and behind him, wearing glasses, is Dr. John D. Maguire. (AP Photo/Perry Aycock) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


Freedom riders board a bus on May 24, 1961 in Montgomery. Ala. to resume their ride through the south. (AP Photo) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


The bus bearing Freedom Riders leaves the Montgomery station as they resume their ride through the South. National Guardsmen stand guard along the route. (AP Photo) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


(L-R) Freedom Riders Julia Aaron & David Dennis sitting on board an interstate bus as they & 25 others (bkgrd. & unseen) are escorted by 2 Mississippi National Guardsmen holding bayonets, on their way from Montgomery, Alabama to Jackson, Mississippi. (Photo by Paul Schutzer//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


The Alabama state troopers and National Guardsmen escorted the bus to the Mississippi state line and then departed. Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett warns the Freedom Riders to "obey the laws of Mississippi." On May 24, 1961, as the buses arrived at the Jackson, Mississippi bus station, the Riders debarked and entered the White Waiting Room. Jackson Police Captain, Capt. Ray, was waiting for the Riders and asked them to leave the white waiting room. When the group failed to heed the order they were arrested and taken to the city jail. (AP Photo) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


Fifteen Freedom Riders that arrived on a second bus in Jackson, Miss., are loaded into a paddy wagon at the bus station, May 24, 1961. They entered the "whites only" waiting room and were arrested for being in violation of state laws. (AP Photo/Horace Cort) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


A Freedom Rider is shown the way to the paddy wagon in Jackson, May 24, 1961, as a second bus load of the integration supporters arrived. Fifteen in second bus were arrested when they entered the white waiting room of the bus station. After the arrests, Gov. Ross Barnett decides to send the Riders to the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman, Mississippi to teach the Riders a lesson. (AP Photo) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


A view of Parchman Prison's maximum security unit in Parchman, Mississippi is seen Jan. 9, 1962. After their arrival at the prison, the Freedom Riders were subject to strip searches, beating, and hard labor. More Freedom Riders from across the country vow to fill Parchman Prison before giving up the Freedom Rides. (AP Photo) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


Jack Young, attorney for the 27 Freedom Riders tells newsmen in Jackson, May 26, 1961, that his clients have elected to remain in jail "at least for the present." Additional Freedom Riders from across the country vow to take the place of the jailed original Freedom Riders. (AP Photo/Fred Kaufman) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


Lucretia Collins, 21, Freedom Rider from Fairbanks, Alaska, walks to a plane in Jackson, May 27, 1961, after being freed from the county jail on $500 bond. (AP Photo) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


Four Freedom Riders are flanked by newsmen on arrival at airport in New Orleans, Saturday, May 27, 1961, after posting bond in Jackson, MS., where they were arrested with 23 others at an interstate bus station. They are, from left, David Dennis, Doris Jean Castle, Julia Aaron and Jerome Smith. All live or attend school in New Orleans and walked quickly through the airport without incident to a limousine. (AP Photo) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


Freedom Riders, who were arrested at a bus station walk to the patrol wagon after their arrest, May 28, 1961, Jackson, Miss. A total of nine were taken to city jail. The group is unidentified. (AP Photo/Ferd Kaufman) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


A policeman searches a Freedom Rider in the white waiting room of the bus station, May 28, 1961, Jackson, Miss. Eight more Riders were arrested when they failed to heed orders to move on. Seated at right are two more of the group, including one white man. (AP Photo/Ferd Kaufman) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


Patricia Ann Jenkins leaves federal court on May 29, 1961 in Montgomery, Ala after testifying at a hearing on racial violence in Alabama. Miss Jenkins, 18 years old student at Tennessee A&I, was one of the Freedom Riders who escaped a mob during riot at the bus station. (AP Photo/Horace Cort) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


Robert M. Shelton, an Alabama Ku Klux Klan leader, puts hand to face as he leaves federal courthouse on May 29, 1961 in Montgomery, Ala. Shelton is one of many defendants in a federal suit charging lack of protection for bus riders following a racial riot at the station. (AP Photo/Horace Cort) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


Alabama Adj. Gen. Henry V. Graham, right, thanks his troops on May 29, 1961 in Montgomery, Ala. as limited martial rule is lifted. The National Guardsmen were called to duty following mob violence in the wake of arrival of Freedom Riders at the bus station. (AP Photo/Horace Cort) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


Claude V. Henley, right, gets a handshake from unidentified well wisher as he enters court on May 29, 1961 in Montgomery, Ala. Henley is named in a federal complaint growing out of a bus station race riot. He is charged in city court with assault and battery in the beating of two newsmen. (AP Photo/Horace Cort) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


Prospective Freedom Riders, a group of nine persons interested in a bus trip from New Orleans to Jackson, Miss., raise their hands for training to become Freedom Riders before Secretary James McCain, center foreground, in New Orleans, May 29, 1961. McCain said any of the group could withdraw and declined individual identification. CORE headquarters has indicated the trip might occur Tuesday to Jackson where 44 "Freedom Riders" have been jailed on arrival by buses from other cities. (AP Photo) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


A group of the Freedom Riders sit in a truck as they wait to leave for the Hinds County Farm in Jackson, May 29, 1961. Twenty-two of the riders who were left in the county jail were transferred. (AP Photo) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


James Davis, Florence, S.C., leader of the Freedom Riders that arrived in Jackson, May 30, 1961, asks Capt. J. L. Ray on what charge they are being arrested after they entered the white waiting room at the train station. (AP Photo) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


Five of the 8 Freedom Riders who were arrested in Jackson, May 31, 1961, are shown as they leave train that brought them from New Orleans. They were arrested when they failed to heed police orders to leave the white waiting room. (AP Photo) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


Freedom Riders talk with newsmen as they enter the train station in Jackson, May 31, 1961. From top left they are: Charles A. Haynie, Ithaca, N.Y.; Joe Griffith, Ithaca, and Toma Green, Ithaca, top center. James Davis Jr. Front left, and Robert L. Heller, Rockville Center, N.Y., in foreground. All were jailed. (AP Photo) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


Seven unidentified Freedom Riders, leave Montgomery, Ala., on a Jackson, Miss.-bound Trailways bus, June 2, 1961. There were no incidents in Montgomery, as police were standing by. (AP Photo) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


Three unidentified white men leave the colored waiting room at Trailways Bus station, June 2, 1961 in Jackson, Miss., where they sat in a desegregation attempt. It was the first time whites used a black waiting room in the Freedom Riders assault upon Mississippi's segregation laws. (AP Photo) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


This is a June 8, 1961 Jackson Police Department file booking photograph of Freedom Rider Joan Trumpauer provided by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History from their "Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission Records" Collection. (AP Photo/Mississippi Department of Archives and History, City of Jackson, File) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


Four new Freedom Riders sit briefly in a Jackson railroad station in an integrated group before their arrest on breach of peace charges, June 20, 1961, Jackson, Miss. The 14-rider party brought to 131 the number arrested since May 24, as they sought to desegregate transportation facilities. The riders are unidentified. (AP Photo) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


Three of 10 freedom riders on trial at Tallahassee, Fla., for unlawful assembly confer during a court recess on Thursday, June 22, 1961 in Tallahassee, Fla. The riders were charged following an attempt to integrate the city airport restaurant on June 15-16. Talking are (from left) Rabbi Israel Dresner of Springfield, N.J., one of two Jewish leaders in the group; the Rev. A.L. Hardge of New Britain, Conn., one of three African Americans; and the Rev. Robert Storm of New York City, one of five white protestant ministers. Three Tallahassee integration sympathizers are also on trial. (AP Photo) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


Arrested for a "breach of the peace," newly arrived Freedom Riders are loaded into the paddy wagon at the bus station in Jackson, MS, June 29, 1961. Unlike Alabama during the first Freedom Rides, Mississippi adopted a policy of preventing attacks on the riders but arresting them. (AP Photo) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


Freedom Riders from California are held at Harris County jail after refusing to post $500 bonds on unlawful assembly charges in Houston, Texas, on Aug. 11, 1961. The group was arrested at the coffee shop of Houston's Union Station train depot when they tried to get service. Those shown are awaiting transfer from the city jail to the county jail after they were booked. (AP Photo) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


An unidentified Freedom Rider sticks his head out of a chartered bus window in Jackson, Miss., having arrived from New York, Aug. 14, 1961. These black and white Riders were testing a Supreme Court ruling banning racial segregation on interstate public transportation. (AP Photo) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


Freedom Riders Levert Taylor, 20, and Glenda Jackson, both of Shreveport, La., are shown with policeman W. L. Copeland at Jackson, MS., Nov. 1, 1961, after their arrest on a breach of peace charge for refusing to move out of the white waiting room at a bus station there. Taylor and Miss Jackson were in Jackson to test the ICC desegregation ruling. (AP Photo/Jim Bourdier) #

 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides


Finally, after six months of Freedom Riders being arrested and attacked despite Supreme Court rulings which struck down state segregation laws, the ICC issues an order that bus and rail station segregation signs must come down. In a final act of defiance, Police Chief George H. Guy poses beside the "White waiting room" sign posted outside the Greyhound bus terminal in McComb, Mississippi, on Nov. 2, 1961. The sign was erected on city property by McComb Police on Oct. 31, one day before the ICC ruling went into effect, which stated that segregation in bus terminals would end. (AP Photo) #

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