Light & Verity

Mug shot

A Freedom Rider's arrest photo.

Margaret Walker Center

Margaret Walker Center

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This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Rides, bus trips taken through the South by integrated groups to challenge the segregation of public facilities. According to the website of a PBS documentary about the movement, at least five Yale students and professors—including chaplain William Sloane Coffin ’49, ’56BD—were among the more than 400 Freedom Riders. The Margaret Walker Center at Jackson State University recently acquired a collection of arrest photos of 329 Freedom Riders: shown here sporting a Yale jacket is Edward Kale ’65BD, who was arrested in June 1961 along with fellow divinity student John Gager ’59, ’62BD. Kale went on to spend his career as a campus minister, teacher, and political activist in England, Germany, and the United States; he now owns a kayaking business in Wisconsin. Asked what he sees today in the photo of his 24-year-old self, he says, “Arrogance, I suppose. And naïveté. And a determination to do what’s right.” 

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