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A firsthand exploration of the cost of boarding the bus of change to move America forward--written by one of the Civil Rights Movement's pioneers. At 18, Charles Person was the youngest of the original Freedom Riders, key figures in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement who left Washington, D.C. by bus in 1961, headed for New Orleans. This purposeful mix of black and white, male a A firsthand exploration of the cost of boarding the bus of change to move America forward--written by one of the Civil Rights Movement's pioneers. At 18, Charles Person was the youngest of the original Freedom Riders, key figures in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement who left Washington, D.C. by bus in 1961, headed for New Orleans. This purposeful mix of black and white, male and female activists--including future Congressman John Lewis, Congress of Racial Equality Director James Farmer, Reverend Benjamin Elton Cox, journalist and pacifist James Peck, and CORE field secretary Genevieve Hughes--set out to discover whether America would abide by a Supreme Court decision that ruled segregation unconstitutional in bus depots, waiting areas, restaurants, and restrooms nationwide. The Freedom Riders found their answer. No. Southern states would continue to disregard federal law and use violence to enforce racial segregation. One bus was burned to a shell; the second, which Charles rode, was set upon by a mob that beat the Riders nearly to death. Buses Are a Comin' provides a front-row view of the struggle to belong in America, as Charles leads his colleagues off the bus, into the station, into the mob, and into history to help defeat segregation's violent grip on African American lives. It is also a challenge from a teenager of a previous era to the young people of today: become agents of transformation. Stand firm. Create a more just and moral country where students have a voice, youth can make a difference, and everyone belongs.


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A firsthand exploration of the cost of boarding the bus of change to move America forward--written by one of the Civil Rights Movement's pioneers. At 18, Charles Person was the youngest of the original Freedom Riders, key figures in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement who left Washington, D.C. by bus in 1961, headed for New Orleans. This purposeful mix of black and white, male a A firsthand exploration of the cost of boarding the bus of change to move America forward--written by one of the Civil Rights Movement's pioneers. At 18, Charles Person was the youngest of the original Freedom Riders, key figures in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement who left Washington, D.C. by bus in 1961, headed for New Orleans. This purposeful mix of black and white, male and female activists--including future Congressman John Lewis, Congress of Racial Equality Director James Farmer, Reverend Benjamin Elton Cox, journalist and pacifist James Peck, and CORE field secretary Genevieve Hughes--set out to discover whether America would abide by a Supreme Court decision that ruled segregation unconstitutional in bus depots, waiting areas, restaurants, and restrooms nationwide. The Freedom Riders found their answer. No. Southern states would continue to disregard federal law and use violence to enforce racial segregation. One bus was burned to a shell; the second, which Charles rode, was set upon by a mob that beat the Riders nearly to death. Buses Are a Comin' provides a front-row view of the struggle to belong in America, as Charles leads his colleagues off the bus, into the station, into the mob, and into history to help defeat segregation's violent grip on African American lives. It is also a challenge from a teenager of a previous era to the young people of today: become agents of transformation. Stand firm. Create a more just and moral country where students have a voice, youth can make a difference, and everyone belongs.

30 review for Buses Are a Comin': Memoir of a Freedom Rider

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    Look around. What injustice do you see? What change needs to happen? Get on the bus. Make it happen. There will be a cost.~from Buses are a Comin' by Charles Person "We intended to be the change," Charles Person writes in the prologue of his memoir Buses are a Comin'. Sixty years ago, Person walked away from a college education, walked away from the safety of his family's love, and boarded a bus headed for the deep south. He and his companions, black and white, old and young, male and female, wer Look around. What injustice do you see? What change needs to happen? Get on the bus. Make it happen. There will be a cost.~from Buses are a Comin' by Charles Person "We intended to be the change," Charles Person writes in the prologue of his memoir Buses are a Comin'. Sixty years ago, Person walked away from a college education, walked away from the safety of his family's love, and boarded a bus headed for the deep south. He and his companions, black and white, old and young, male and female, were determined to challenge the illegal practice of segregation on the buses. Person wanted the dignity, respect, and the privileges that whites took for granted. He could have chosen safety. But he heard the call to "do something" and answered it. He was eighteen when he donned his Sunday suit and joined the Freedom Riders. Over the summer of 1961, four hundred Americans participated in sixty-three Freedom Rides. The Supreme Court had ruled against segregation on the buses, but Jim Crow ruled the south. Four hundred Americans put themselves into harm's way because they believed that "all men are created equal." Person mentions the well-remembered leaders of the Civil Rights movement, but they are not the only heroes. This is the story of the people who did the hard work. Those whose names are not on street signs across the cities. The students, ministers, homemakers, writers, social workers, people from across the country who believed in E pluribus unum. One of the heroes in the book is Jim Peck, a wealthy, white man who was severely beaten by white supremacists, and still got back on the bus. It baffled Person how a man with everything would give so much for the rights of another. Person's voice and personality come through the memoir. It is the story of a young man finding his purpose, committing himself to endure jail and beatings and near death. I had seen the documentaries and I had read the history. But a memoir brings something new to the story. Person's first hand account is moving, his words have rhythm and lyricism, his story takes us into hell, and finally, into hope. If they could stand up to power, we can, too. Every generation has its purpose. I received a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley. My review is fair and unbiased.

  2. 5 out of 5

    chantel nouseforaname

    This memoir left me speechless. I also couldn't stop the tears and rage that overtook me while reading this effort. I think of all the brave Black men and women and their allies who stood up and said, no more, riding buses right into the mouth of hatred in the deep south. Charles Person and his comrades James Farmer, Hank Thomas, Genevieve, Al Bigelow, Ed Blankenheim, Jim Peck, Rev Elton Cox, Jimmy McDonald, Walter & Frances Bergman and Joe Perkins changed and shaped history. Salute to all Freedo This memoir left me speechless. I also couldn't stop the tears and rage that overtook me while reading this effort. I think of all the brave Black men and women and their allies who stood up and said, no more, riding buses right into the mouth of hatred in the deep south. Charles Person and his comrades James Farmer, Hank Thomas, Genevieve, Al Bigelow, Ed Blankenheim, Jim Peck, Rev Elton Cox, Jimmy McDonald, Walter & Frances Bergman and Joe Perkins changed and shaped history. Salute to all Freedom Fighters and Freedom Riders who came before and after them, and all the students and professors who put their lives on the line for change. The way Mr. Person was able to juxtapose his era against the current era and the actions that are currently taking place within Black Lives Matters chapters, and with other global movements such as March for Our Lives, the #MeToo movement, etc. makes this extremely current and relatable. It is a vital read in understanding the shoulders that we stand on. Thank you so much NetGalley for letting me read a copy before its release! This book is being released April 27, 2021. I'll be purchasing a copy in the future.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sharyn Berg

    Written in a conversational tone, Buses Are a Comin’ is a historical, educational, and sometimes disturbing, look at the non-confrontational, peaceful fight for equal rights during the early Civil Rights Movement. The men and women at the center of this account are ordinary people, like you and me, striving to bring about change for the good of their race, for the good of the world. While they are non-violent, and stick to their vow of non-violence against all odds, those who they oppose peacefu Written in a conversational tone, Buses Are a Comin’ is a historical, educational, and sometimes disturbing, look at the non-confrontational, peaceful fight for equal rights during the early Civil Rights Movement. The men and women at the center of this account are ordinary people, like you and me, striving to bring about change for the good of their race, for the good of the world. While they are non-violent, and stick to their vow of non-violence against all odds, those who they oppose peacefully don’t hold to the same creed. They torture and beat men and women, young and old alike, mercilessly for no other reason than the color of their skin. This is a well written account of what it was like for an innocent black person to go about their daily life while striving for equality in the Deep South. Horror and beatings awaited them just for their choice of a seat on the bus that should rightfully have been theirs all along. I think now is a good time for everyone to read this book and to realize what it was really like back then when brave heroes stood up, or sat down, peacefully in an effort to bring about change. I am so glad I read this book and I’m thankful to NetGalley for the advance read copy.

  4. 4 out of 5

    David Henkhaus

    Gripping first-person narrative of the youngest member of the original Freedom Ride, scheduled from Washington, D.C. to New Orleans in Spring, 1961. The story paces itself along, neither lingering too long nor racing through. The author's eyewitness to the challenges faced by those who sought to bring about desegregation, and the actions of those (all too) violently opposed, is quite literally breathtaking. In 2021 and beyond, as we continue to struggle with racial disparity in the U.S., this boo Gripping first-person narrative of the youngest member of the original Freedom Ride, scheduled from Washington, D.C. to New Orleans in Spring, 1961. The story paces itself along, neither lingering too long nor racing through. The author's eyewitness to the challenges faced by those who sought to bring about desegregation, and the actions of those (all too) violently opposed, is quite literally breathtaking. In 2021 and beyond, as we continue to struggle with racial disparity in the U.S., this book can offer perspective on how it was done 60 years ago, and encouragement to the next generations picking up the mantle.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jan

    NetGalley Review for Buses Are A Comin’ by Charles Person with Richard Rooker, published by St. Martin’s Press Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this riveting autobiography of a Freedom Rider and civil rights activist. Charles Person, born in Atlanta, GA in 1943, inspired by the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955-1956 and the 1960 lunch counter sit-in’s in Greensboro, NC, dedicated his young life to full citizenship for black Americans. “Our parents in their tim NetGalley Review for Buses Are A Comin’ by Charles Person with Richard Rooker, published by St. Martin’s Press Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this riveting autobiography of a Freedom Rider and civil rights activist. Charles Person, born in Atlanta, GA in 1943, inspired by the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955-1956 and the 1960 lunch counter sit-in’s in Greensboro, NC, dedicated his young life to full citizenship for black Americans. “Our parents in their time of awakening had handled race one way: Life is difficult, but it could be a whole lot worse. Get along. . . . We, the college-aged Negroes of America, believed our time was now. The day was upon us. I was awake and up for the day.” (page 87) Charles was a brilliant math and science student but was denied entry into Georgia Tech because of the color of his skin. In 1960, he matriculated at Morehouse College, an historical black college in Atlanta. Influenced by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., he joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) which was a student-driven organization based on100 percent consensus, giving everyone an equal voice. Charles immediately joined sit-ins at lunch counters, was arrested and even placed in solitary confinement because he sang protest songs too fervently for his racist white jailers' sensibilities. Interstate transportation had been integrated in 1944 by Irene Morgan (Morgan v Virginia). In 1947 the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) tested the Supreme Court decision by sending riders on interstate buses. With a few exceptions, the ride, known as the Journey of Reconciliation was a success in the northern portion of the South. CORE chose to test it again in 1961 by sending a dozen riders (men and women, black and white, old and young) from Washington, D.C. to New Orleans. Thurgood Marshall said it would be liking leading “sheep to the slaughter.” Here are those brave Americans: James Farmer, head of CORE John Lewis, Hank Thomas Genevieve, Al Bigelow, Ed Blankenheim, Jim Peck, Rev Elton Cox, Jimmy McDonald, Walter Bergman, Frances Bergman, Joe Perkins, Charles Person. I encourage you to read their story and Charles Person’s. He is a remarkable man, the youngest of the Freedom Riders and a brave American. I believe this could easily become a classic of civil rights nonfiction. I close with the words of Charles Person: “Did we belong where we thought we belonged in 1961? Of course, we belonged. Do you belong where you think you belong today? Of course, you belong. But “Do I belong?” is a universal question asked in every generation by those who feel they do not. It is a question resisted by those who think others do not belong. . . . In every era, it takes a bus of change to lead the way to new sense of belonging. Thankfully, a change bus is always a comin’.” (page 563)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Carol Macarthur

    Charles Person's riveting account of his being one of the first Freedom Riders in 1961 merits high praise for many reasons. The novel documents first-hand the hatred and brutality met by these "riders," young and old, black and white, who their lives in search of racial equality. A very young man when he took the ride in 1961, Person "does something," and it shapes his whole life. In this novel, he throws down a gauntlet to young people, yes, but also to anyone of any age now, to "board the bus o Charles Person's riveting account of his being one of the first Freedom Riders in 1961 merits high praise for many reasons. The novel documents first-hand the hatred and brutality met by these "riders," young and old, black and white, who their lives in search of racial equality. A very young man when he took the ride in 1961, Person "does something," and it shapes his whole life. In this novel, he throws down a gauntlet to young people, yes, but also to anyone of any age now, to "board the bus of change" in support of equality for everyone, no matter the race or the creed, in this country. This is an important work, perhaps even great. A prediction can easily be made that it will be studied by teachers and used it schools. A masterpiece!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Nel

    So I'm wrapping up Black History Month with an extraordinary read. Buses Are a Comin' is a book every American should pick up and is one that would be an excellent addition to any high school curriculum. Although it will not be published until April 27th, mark your calendars for this very important release. This first-hand account of the Freedom Ride is so incredibly eye-opening and heartbreaking. I thought I knew the story. I thought I understood their plight. Oh, but I knew so little... so litt So I'm wrapping up Black History Month with an extraordinary read. Buses Are a Comin' is a book every American should pick up and is one that would be an excellent addition to any high school curriculum. Although it will not be published until April 27th, mark your calendars for this very important release. This first-hand account of the Freedom Ride is so incredibly eye-opening and heartbreaking. I thought I knew the story. I thought I understood their plight. Oh, but I knew so little... so little about the sacrifices made, about the human dignity they put on the line, and about the deeply ingrained ignorance those poor souls were up against. Honestly, to think that our nation was at a place that we would treat human beings with such utter disrespect is unfathomable to me. After reading the memoir, I continued to research and the discovery that saddened me most of all was the fact that the ignorance was perpetuated by all southerners including Christians who based their bigoted attitudes on "Biblical truths". As a Christian myself, I find this incomprehensible and abhorrent. Charles Person, the author of this book, is undoubtedly an American Hero, as are the other brave Freedom Riders that boarded the public buses in 1961. The strength, tenacity, and selflessness it took to board those buses is beyond commendable. It is extraordinary. If it weren't for the Freedom Riders taking this step to test the validity of the Supreme Court landmark decision, Boynton vs. Virginia, our progress to equality would have been impeded that much longer. It saddens me to no end to think that such things had to be done to overcome obstacles that never should have been in place to begin with. Thank you, Mr. Person, for sharing your story with us. I am better for having learned what you endured to better our nation. Although we have so far to go, this is a testament to the power of conviction and pacifism. Many thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for gifting me with this early review copy in exchange for an honest review. Check out more of my reviews at mamasgottaread.blogspot.com or follow me on Insta @mamasgottaread .

  8. 4 out of 5

    LibraryCin

    In 1961, a small group of people, both black and white and of a variety of ages from the author at 18 years old up to a retired white couple, got on a variety of buses, planning to head from Washington, DC to New Orleans. The idea was to test what would happen when they sat at various places on the bus, front or back, regardless of their colour. They also (black and white), in some cases, sat together. Supreme Court Decisions in the 1940s (before Rosa Parks) and the 1950s said that anyone should In 1961, a small group of people, both black and white and of a variety of ages from the author at 18 years old up to a retired white couple, got on a variety of buses, planning to head from Washington, DC to New Orleans. The idea was to test what would happen when they sat at various places on the bus, front or back, regardless of their colour. They also (black and white), in some cases, sat together. Supreme Court Decisions in the 1940s (before Rosa Parks) and the 1950s said that anyone should be able to sit anywhere on interstate buses, and that anyone should be able to sit anywhere, use any washroom, order from any food place, etc. inside the depots. Wow… what an amazing group of very brave people! Granted, some of them didn’t realize how bad it would get (including Charles, though he had grown up in Georgia… but Georgia wasn’t the worst), but this was the first group of “Freedom Riders” that set off a chain of others to continue when they were unable to finish their trips. It’s crazy to me how the KKK was still alive and well in the deep South, and even police were involved. Obviously, this book includes violence (though the Riders themselves had vowed to be nonviolent), and some awful subject matter. It was heart-wrenching at times. The first chapter tells of the climax of the trip, but then backs up to tell us about Charles’ life growing up. In May 1961 for those two weeks that the first Freedom Ride was happening, he was at the tail end of his first year of college. He had previously been involved in some protests in Atlanta with other college students regarding the segregation of blacks and whites in restaurants and cafes. But this was something else. When I finished, I “had” to check a few videos on youtube.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Buses Are a Comin’ by Charles Person and with Richard Rooker is a stunning memoir and personal account of a brave and honorable young man, Charles Person whom joined and participated in a peaceful quest and journey within the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. This young man was a part of the Original Freedom Riders group that selflessly placed themselves into the spotlight of the unjust segregation and disgusting practice of racism that was heavy and thick during this pivotal time. Shedding li Buses Are a Comin’ by Charles Person and with Richard Rooker is a stunning memoir and personal account of a brave and honorable young man, Charles Person whom joined and participated in a peaceful quest and journey within the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. This young man was a part of the Original Freedom Riders group that selflessly placed themselves into the spotlight of the unjust segregation and disgusting practice of racism that was heavy and thick during this pivotal time. Shedding light on these practices in a peaceful and nonviolent manner, this young man was respectful and brave in what he did. It was awe inspiring and humbling to see what was done, not only to him and the above-mentioned group, but also to so many that were truly only asking for equal rights. I cannot imagine the inner fear and the outer struggles that he experienced and overcame during this time. His stories and experiences are laid out in this stunning memior and reflection of how far we have come, and yet how far we still have to go to achieve equality for every person. I will forever remember and be changed from his story. A must read for every human being. 5/5 stars enthusiastically Thank you NG and St Martin’s Press for this stunning ARC and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion. I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Susan Williams

    “Buses of change are always a comin’. Here is the story of the bus that I got on”. Charles Person, along with Richard Rooker share the detailed events of the first Freedom Riders bus trip May 4, 1960 from Washington DC to Birmingham, Alabama. This is the most emotional book I have ever read. The horror, The hate, The atrocities that have been done to humans because of the color of their skin. This is the most emotional Book I have ever read . The Courage, The Strength, The Tenacity, The Enduranc “Buses of change are always a comin’. Here is the story of the bus that I got on”. Charles Person, along with Richard Rooker share the detailed events of the first Freedom Riders bus trip May 4, 1960 from Washington DC to Birmingham, Alabama. This is the most emotional book I have ever read. The horror, The hate, The atrocities that have been done to humans because of the color of their skin. This is the most emotional Book I have ever read . The Courage, The Strength, The Tenacity, The Endurance, The Love. Reading this book encouraged me to delve even deeper in researching the lives, the stories, the faces of ALL who dared to make a difference without using violence.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Amy Sunshine

    Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for this digital ARC. This is well-done memoir from the youngest member of the first Freedom Ride in 1961. Charles Person grew up poor in Atlanta and experienced segregation and discrimination first hand. While studying at Morehouse College, he was inspired by the Greensboro sit-ins to “do something”. So he applied to be part of the first “Freedom Ride” from Washington, DC to New Orleans. Person was one of 12 riders, which was a racially and socially Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for this digital ARC. This is well-done memoir from the youngest member of the first Freedom Ride in 1961. Charles Person grew up poor in Atlanta and experienced segregation and discrimination first hand. While studying at Morehouse College, he was inspired by the Greensboro sit-ins to “do something”. So he applied to be part of the first “Freedom Ride” from Washington, DC to New Orleans. Person was one of 12 riders, which was a racially and socially diverse group of men and women of varying ages. His first-hand account of the hatred, brutality and violence that they endured is upsetting and can be hard to read at times. But we cannot turn away from hard things. There is still work to be done and this memoir helps light the way.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sara G

    ***ARC received from St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley in exchange for honest review, opinions are all my own. Thank you!*** Sixty years ago Black men and women and their white allies old and young, boarded buses wanting nothing more than to be treated as equals. Some had been in the fight for years while Charles Person took up the call at 18 the youngest of the Freedom Riders of 1961. Reading his account of the ease of the first few days of the ride to the attacks that nearly cost him his and his ***ARC received from St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley in exchange for honest review, opinions are all my own. Thank you!*** Sixty years ago Black men and women and their white allies old and young, boarded buses wanting nothing more than to be treated as equals. Some had been in the fight for years while Charles Person took up the call at 18 the youngest of the Freedom Riders of 1961. Reading his account of the ease of the first few days of the ride to the attacks that nearly cost him his and his fellow passengers their lives in harrowing. Its building up to the tension and attacks you know come and yet still caught me off guard. The book is told in a first person narrative, allowing you as the reader to follow along with Mr. Person and his thoughts. The first half of the book Mr. Person’s young life growing up in Georgia much of it just a normal life. There not much discussion of more overt racism in these chapters in fact there is a scene when the family is traveling home that they come near a caravan of the Ku Klux Klan seeing protection in the porches of strangers that Mr. Person’s describes the scene of the burning crosses driving by as almost beautiful. It is hate viewed through the eyes of a young child and hearing him talk about seeing beauty in something that comes from a place of so much hate. But as Mr. Person’s grows older he sees the racism rearing its ugly head from the language used to not being able to sit at a counter to order a meal. But times are changing and Mr. Person’s feels that change. He is inspired by not only his own experiences with systemic racism but the experiences and words of others. He draws on their strength that when the time comes to do something, he answers the call to board the buses. There are many times as he is introduced to many of his fellow riders that he wonders what could have brought such an interesting group of people together at times not understanding why an older white retired couple like Mr and Mrs. Bergman or a man of wealth like Jim Peck would want to take the ride with him. While this is a memoir of a man written when he is well into his 70s it reads like you are taking the words straight from 18 y/o Mr. Persons mouth experiencing it for the first time with him. Which can make it difficult to read, particularly when they reach Alabama greeted by true anger. It is not easy to read and Mr. Person does not shy away from laying everything that happened out there. I have seen the videos and images of the beatings that civil rights activist faced but to be in that moment with him, the fear of being trapped on a bus as a mob sets in to attack him, watching his fellows riders be beaten taking a beating himself to the heart wrenching moment when he is separated from Mr. Peck in the train station and feared for both their lives. Its a memoir, you know the outcome but in that moment he portrays everything so vividly I was truly afraid that they would both be killed. While they did not finish their ride, these brave men and women set a movement into action that would in many ways still be a movement that goes on to this day as Mr. Person points out. Drawing comparisons to modern day movements from struggles for equality and the end of police brutality led by Black Lives Matter marches and protests, a call for the end to gun violence with the March For Our Lives and the fight against sexual violence with Me Too that while times change the fight never does.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Richard Propes

    It's been well over 50 years since the 1961 Freedom Rides began, perilous journeys involving Black and white, male and female activists who set out from Washington D.C. to find out if America was ready to abide by a recent Supreme Court decision ruling segregation unconstitutional in bus depots, waiting areas, restaurants, and restrooms nationwide. The answer, they would quickly learn, was "No." Southern states, in particular, would continue to disregard federal law and would often do so through It's been well over 50 years since the 1961 Freedom Rides began, perilous journeys involving Black and white, male and female activists who set out from Washington D.C. to find out if America was ready to abide by a recent Supreme Court decision ruling segregation unconstitutional in bus depots, waiting areas, restaurants, and restrooms nationwide. The answer, they would quickly learn, was "No." Southern states, in particular, would continue to disregard federal law and would often do so through the use of brutal violence. 18-year-old Charles Person was one of the first 13 Freedom Riders, the youngest one during that first trip that was scheduled to go from Washington D.C. to New Orleans but would eventually end in Birmingham, Alabama when one of their two buses was burned to a shell while the other bus was attacked by local Klansmen who'd been assured by the local sheriff that they had 15 minutes before police would arrive. By the time police arrived, the Freedom Riders, including Person, were nearly beaten to death and multiple Freedom Riders sustained life-changing injuries from the relatively brief yet brutal attack. "Buses Are a Comin': Memoir of a Freedom Rider" is Person's story that he writes alongside Richard Rooker and it's a riveting testimony that jars, disturbs, and refuses to compromise the truths that, sadly, feel just as relevant today. "Buses Are a Comin'" is written in first-person, an approach that amplifies Person's testimony and gives it all a remarkable sense of urgency. You can practically hear Person speaking the words that he writes, words of youthful enthusiasm and optimism replaced mile-by-mile by the awareness that comes from encountering verbal and physical abuse, relentless name-calling and the growing realization of a world from which his parents had hoped he could be protected. Of course, such protection would have been impossible. It was made even more impossible by Person's drive to follow the command of his father to "Do Something!," a command given after Person had been denied admission to his college of choice despite meeting all criteria solely because of the color of his skin. While Charles Person would relent and attend Morehouse College instead, the seeds were planted for a life of doin' something. If you're anticipating something resembling a textbook accounting of the Freedom Rides, you'd best think again. If you're hoping for something like a greeting card shout of civil rights glee, you'd best think again. "Buses Are a Comin'" is a brutally honest, at times the emphasis is on brutal, testimony of Person's often vile experiences on that first Freedom Ride including the stop in Birmingham that nearly claimed his life along with the lives of those who had joined him. Person, who had been one of three surviving Freedom Riders from that original trip until Congressman John Lewis recently passed, tells the story in a rather matter-of-fact way. There's certainly no excess drama here because, if we're being honest, the truth is about as dramatic as you can possibly get. That said, "Buses Are a Comin'" also captures the rich human experience that unfolded during the Freedom Ride including the relationships formed, those who provided support, those who risked their lives, and Person's own seeming befuddlement that white folks, in particular, would join in and risk their own lives for equality including one man, who would be left in a wheelchair from the trip, who'd made his fortunes and now made this trip because he wanted every American to have that same opportunity. While in many ways "Buses Are a Comin'" is almost exactly the book you expect it to be, it's ultimately a far more engaging experience because Person himself is so open and engaging himself. Person has been quoted as saying that "the purpose of a protest is to get people angry" and, in this case, it's perhaps impossible to read "Buses Are a Comin'" without lamenting the hatred that Person and the other Riders encountered and the conflicts, divisions, labels, and hatred that continue to divide us to this day. An absolute must-read for those engaged in social justice work or who wish to be better informed about the history of racial justice in the U.S., "Buses Are a Comin': Memoir of a Freedom Rider" is an unforgettable reading experience that we truly can't afford to forget if we aspire to a higher vision for America.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sandi Hemming

    One of the ways I determine if a book I am reading is a 5-star book is if I want to tell the world about it. I wanted to tell the world about this book from the first few pages. I really wanted to tell the world about it when I finished it at 3:00am. It was shocking to me that this happened in my lifetime. The story was often not pleasant to read, despite the author‘s very good writing, but It is an important page of history I knew I had to urge the world to read. At 88, Charles Person wrote his One of the ways I determine if a book I am reading is a 5-star book is if I want to tell the world about it. I wanted to tell the world about this book from the first few pages. I really wanted to tell the world about it when I finished it at 3:00am. It was shocking to me that this happened in my lifetime. The story was often not pleasant to read, despite the author‘s very good writing, but It is an important page of history I knew I had to urge the world to read. At 88, Charles Person wrote his story. “At 18, Charles Person was the youngest of the original Freedom Riders, key figures in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement who left Washington, D.C. by bus in 1961, headed for New Orleans. This purposeful mix of black and white, male and female activists” wore their Sunday best clothes and manners and vowed to respond to horrific threats and assaults with non-violence. “They set out to discover whether America would abide by a Supreme Court decision that ruled segregation unconstitutional in bus depots, waiting areas, restaurants, and restrooms nationwide. The Freedom Riders found their answer. No. Southern states would continue to disregard federal law and use violence to enforce racial segregation. One bus was burned to a shell; the second, which Charles rode, was set upon by a mob that beat the Riders nearly to death. Buses Are a Comin’ provides a front-row view of the struggle to belong in America, as Charles leads his colleagues off the bus, into the station, into the mob, and into history to help defeat segregation’s violent grip on African American lives.” I read a pre-release copy but it will be officially released on April 27, s021 and ... well.... you should read it!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mona AlvaradoFrazier

    "At 18, Charles Person was the youngest of the original Freedom Riders, key figures in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement who left Washington, D.C. by bus in 1961, headed for New Orleans. This purposeful mix of black and white, male and female activists--including future Congressman John Lewis, Congress of Racial Equality Director James Farmer, Reverend Benjamin Elton Cox, journalist and pacifist James Peck, and CORE field secretary Genevieve Hughes--set out to discover whether America would abide b "At 18, Charles Person was the youngest of the original Freedom Riders, key figures in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement who left Washington, D.C. by bus in 1961, headed for New Orleans. This purposeful mix of black and white, male and female activists--including future Congressman John Lewis, Congress of Racial Equality Director James Farmer, Reverend Benjamin Elton Cox, journalist and pacifist James Peck, and CORE field secretary Genevieve Hughes--set out to discover whether America would abide by a Supreme Court decision that ruled segregation unconstitutional in bus depots, waiting areas, restaurants, and restrooms nationwide." The saying, "We stand on the shoulders of others," is what I immediately thought of when I read this engrossing memoir. The 'shoulders' are of Charles Person, John Lewis, Genevieve Hughes, and countless others whose actions are found in this memoir. Told in a conversational tone and switching from personal life to political actions, the reader has a front-row seat to the actions of the early days of the civil rights movement. There are times of horror, anger, courage, and bravery. I think middle grade and high school students would find this book interesting due to the accessibility of the narrative. The details provided give an intimate view of what happened and how people can work to make change occur. Thank you to NetGalley for providing this memoir.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Dawn Thomas

    Buses Are A Comin by Charles Person with Richard Rooker 9781250274199 304 Pages Publisher: St. martin’s Press Release Date: April 27, 2021 Nonfiction (Adult), Biographies, Memoirs, Black History, Civil Rights Charles Person is troubled. He is smart and wants to be a scientist. He is accepted to MIT, but his family cannot afford to pay for it. He wants to go to Georgia Tech but in 1960, they are not accepting Blacks. His only option is to attend Morehouse College, a historic Black college and universit Buses Are A Comin by Charles Person with Richard Rooker 9781250274199 304 Pages Publisher: St. martin’s Press Release Date: April 27, 2021 Nonfiction (Adult), Biographies, Memoirs, Black History, Civil Rights Charles Person is troubled. He is smart and wants to be a scientist. He is accepted to MIT, but his family cannot afford to pay for it. He wants to go to Georgia Tech but in 1960, they are not accepting Blacks. His only option is to attend Morehouse College, a historic Black college and university, in Atlanta Georgia. He walks the few miles every day to attend classes. There he meets Lonnie King and Julian Bond with the rest of the Atlanta Student Movement. After a sit-in at lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, local sit-ins were held. This wasn’t enough of an action, so the Freedom Ride bus trip was planned. Not everyone that applied was accepted which surprised Charles why he was selected. At only 18, he was the youngest rider. This is an amazing story told in the first person. Charles does a great job recalling the experiences before, during, and after the Freedom Ride. I learned so much of this event that took place the year before I was born. If you are interested in the Civil Rights Movement, this is definitely a book to read.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    Fury reared it’s ugly head right at the first sentence, and it wasn’t tamed much as I continued to read. These statements from the summary of this novel are so powerful and moving: “It is also a challenge from a teenager of a previous era to the young people of today: become agents of transformation. Stand firm. Create a more just and moral country where students have a voice, youth can make a difference, and everyone belongs.” So much movement and change has occurred over the years, and so much Fury reared it’s ugly head right at the first sentence, and it wasn’t tamed much as I continued to read. These statements from the summary of this novel are so powerful and moving: “It is also a challenge from a teenager of a previous era to the young people of today: become agents of transformation. Stand firm. Create a more just and moral country where students have a voice, youth can make a difference, and everyone belongs.” So much movement and change has occurred over the years, and so much more will happen in the future, it HAS to! Memoirs such as this one are so important to help remind people where we came from and where we need to be. My heart aches for all of those who have experienced such hatred, such violence, such racism; and it infuriates me. What I truly appreciated while reading this was mostly the personalized first hand experience of someone who lived this, but also the background and history about the Freedom Riders. I hadn’t heard of them before and it was intriguing. This memoir was incredibly moving and important.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Trisha

    I really don't even have words for this book. It is absolutely incredible. I think everyone, no matter your nationality, should read this. As a Canadian, I learned about a part of history that I only vaguely knew about. Of course I had heard extensively about the civil rights movement of the 60s, but Freedom Rides weren't a part I was overly familiar with. This book is heartbreaking in its history as well as its relevance. As well as telling his story of fighting racism and segregation in the 196 I really don't even have words for this book. It is absolutely incredible. I think everyone, no matter your nationality, should read this. As a Canadian, I learned about a part of history that I only vaguely knew about. Of course I had heard extensively about the civil rights movement of the 60s, but Freedom Rides weren't a part I was overly familiar with. This book is heartbreaking in its history as well as its relevance. As well as telling his story of fighting racism and segregation in the 1960s, he brings up the recent cases of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor as examples of how far we still have to go. But the biggest thing that will stick with me from this book is Charles' call to action. He got on a bus, even though he was scared. There's always "a bus a comin'." His question to us is: are we brave enough to get on?

  19. 5 out of 5

    Brandi Goff

    I wasn’t planning to write a full review for this one, but as I finish it sitting here watching US election results slowly trickle in, it seems fitting to at least leave two quotes as a takeaway. “Thankfully, a change bus is always a comin’.” “Get on the bus. Make it happen.” Don’t just stand by. It’s up to each of us to fight injustice. And look no further than this book if you need a bit of inspiration. **I received this advance copy free from St. Martin’s Publishing Group via NetGalley in exchan I wasn’t planning to write a full review for this one, but as I finish it sitting here watching US election results slowly trickle in, it seems fitting to at least leave two quotes as a takeaway. “Thankfully, a change bus is always a comin’.” “Get on the bus. Make it happen.” Don’t just stand by. It’s up to each of us to fight injustice. And look no further than this book if you need a bit of inspiration. **I received this advance copy free from St. Martin’s Publishing Group via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Iwanicki

    This book left me speechless. To be honest, this is a part of history that I knew very little about. I was glad that Charles Person was the person to educate me on the Freedom Rides. This book, told in the first person, was like having a conversation in my living room. Mr. Person went into horrifying detail of his account of his involvement during this time. While at times this book was difficult to read, it is a very important book. It should be a part of U.S. history courses in high school and This book left me speechless. To be honest, this is a part of history that I knew very little about. I was glad that Charles Person was the person to educate me on the Freedom Rides. This book, told in the first person, was like having a conversation in my living room. Mr. Person went into horrifying detail of his account of his involvement during this time. While at times this book was difficult to read, it is a very important book. It should be a part of U.S. history courses in high school and college.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Becker

    Such an important book! As a secondary ELA teacher, I can say my students will love this book. Charles Person, one of the 1961 Freedom Riders, tells his story in an easy to read, conversational tone. He tells the unvarnished, real narrative of his time with the Freedom Riders as both black and white boarded buses to test segregation across the South following two Supreme Court decisions that gave them the right to do so. Person writes of his respect and admiration for his fellow riders, Jim Peck Such an important book! As a secondary ELA teacher, I can say my students will love this book. Charles Person, one of the 1961 Freedom Riders, tells his story in an easy to read, conversational tone. He tells the unvarnished, real narrative of his time with the Freedom Riders as both black and white boarded buses to test segregation across the South following two Supreme Court decisions that gave them the right to do so. Person writes of his respect and admiration for his fellow riders, Jim Peck and John Lewis among them. He writes candidly about his childhood, his family's poverty, and their closeness. His story is sometimes uncomfortable, but it is a reality that everyone should know and a story that must be told. When Charles is denied acceptance to white universities, even though he had excellent scores and GPA, you have to feel his disillusion. His resolve and determination are inspirational. This is a must-read. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Casey Bates

    This book was emotional , inspirational and heroic . The activists on rights for a black culture to be treated the same as everyone else . A force to be reckoned with this book will show you the strength it takes to attain justice . Well written and detailed , an excellent part of history that will never be forgotten .

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kris

    Buses Are a Comin’ by Charles Person and with Richard Rooker is a brilliant and heart breaking memoir of Charles Person, one of the first Freedom Riders of 1961. The narrative recounts the discrimination, the bullying, and the outright hatred endured by blacks during the time period. It delves into the impact of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, and the beginnings of the Civil Rights movement. Buses Are a Comin’ gives an unflinching and honest look at the events that took place during the late 50’s and e Buses Are a Comin’ by Charles Person and with Richard Rooker is a brilliant and heart breaking memoir of Charles Person, one of the first Freedom Riders of 1961. The narrative recounts the discrimination, the bullying, and the outright hatred endured by blacks during the time period. It delves into the impact of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, and the beginnings of the Civil Rights movement. Buses Are a Comin’ gives an unflinching and honest look at the events that took place during the late 50’s and early 60’s. Much of it remains relevant in today’s climate of political and racial unrest. The first person narrative serves to enhance the recounting of Person’s experiences and one can easily imagine that he is recounting his life over drinks or coffee. The pain within is raw but necessary. Person never shies away from the issues or the horrors that continue even into today. Nor does he hesitate in his comparison of the Civil Rights Movement and the current Black Lives Matter movement. Buses Are a Comin’ is a quick read that will hopefully elicit some thoughtfulness and continued change.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    This first-person account of the initial Freedom Ride of 1961 is heartbreaking, infuriating, and inspiring. It is evidence of how far our country has come in the fight for racial equality, yet reminds us we still have so far to go. It is everyone's responsibility to "get on the bus." I received a digital advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This first-person account of the initial Freedom Ride of 1961 is heartbreaking, infuriating, and inspiring. It is evidence of how far our country has come in the fight for racial equality, yet reminds us we still have so far to go. It is everyone's responsibility to "get on the bus." I received a digital advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    I received an advanced copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! I knew about the marches. I knew about the sit-ins. I knew about Rosa Parks. I even knew that there were people before Ms Parks that refused to get off/move seats. But I didn't know there were those, Black and White in almost equal numbers, whose mission was to ride on a bus. In the front of the bus. From Washington DC south. Charles Person was on the very first bus. What they endured is sometimes difficult I received an advanced copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! I knew about the marches. I knew about the sit-ins. I knew about Rosa Parks. I even knew that there were people before Ms Parks that refused to get off/move seats. But I didn't know there were those, Black and White in almost equal numbers, whose mission was to ride on a bus. In the front of the bus. From Washington DC south. Charles Person was on the very first bus. What they endured is sometimes difficult to read. His memories (aided by notes he took at the time) are clear and he writes almost poetically. And at the end, he still has hope. He has hope that America will live up to what it aspires to be. He does not pretend that it will be easy. He shares what the cost was for many of those first Riders (and subsequent ones). This memoir is one of the best I've read. I'll be recommending it to every person I know.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tessa

    This memoir is absolutely beautiful. Charles Person eloquently writes about his experience during the Civil Rights Movement as one of the first Freedom Riders. Though it is sometimes a difficult read, it is deeply moving and vividly reminds us all of the horrors that took place not too long ago, and the horrors that are still taking place for many across the country today. I finished the entire book in one sitting, and honestly wished I could read more. I know that I cannot wait to share this me This memoir is absolutely beautiful. Charles Person eloquently writes about his experience during the Civil Rights Movement as one of the first Freedom Riders. Though it is sometimes a difficult read, it is deeply moving and vividly reminds us all of the horrors that took place not too long ago, and the horrors that are still taking place for many across the country today. I finished the entire book in one sitting, and honestly wished I could read more. I know that I cannot wait to share this memoir with all of my family and friends and firmly believe that everyone should take the opportunity to read this moving account.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer S

    I received an advanced copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press in return for my honest review. Thank you, St. Martin’s Press. What a necessary and timely memoir. Charles Person is one of the Freedom Riders from 1961 and this is his story. His memoir is written in a relaxed and inviting tone. It’s easy to follow, get lost in the pages, and feel comfortable with Person. He pulls you into the story. It’s easy to become consumed with his words. We have an ominous history as it relates to race equali I received an advanced copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press in return for my honest review. Thank you, St. Martin’s Press. What a necessary and timely memoir. Charles Person is one of the Freedom Riders from 1961 and this is his story. His memoir is written in a relaxed and inviting tone. It’s easy to follow, get lost in the pages, and feel comfortable with Person. He pulls you into the story. It’s easy to become consumed with his words. We have an ominous history as it relates to race equality and human rights. It’s something that we clearly are still facing today. Reading this book was painful. It hurts to know this is how people were treated not that long ago. It hurts to see that so much really hasn’t changed. And that’s what makes this book essential. These are the stories we need to read. These are the stories we need to know. The only way we can grow is by becoming uncomfortable and doing the hard work. “In every era, it takes a bus of change to lead the way to new senses of belonging. … To reach those aspirations others must board the bus a comin’ for them. The ride will not be easy, but it will be necessary. It always has been. It always will be.” – Charles Person read my full review here

  28. 4 out of 5

    CHARLES PERSON

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I loved it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tom Ray

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tim

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