San Leandro will celebrate African American History Month on Saturday, Feb. 7 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Main Library at 300 Estudillo Ave. in downtown San Leandro.
Admission is free. Guest speakers will include Carol Ruth Silver and Freddye M. Davis, who were both activists in the Civil Rights Movement.
Ms. Silver’s will discuss her experience as a Freedom Rider.
The Freedom Riders, a group of civil rights activists, in 1961 travelled on interstate buses into the southern regions of the United States to test U.S. Supreme Court rulings that outlawed segregation in interstate bus terminal facilities.
Brutality and arrests inflicted on the Riders called national and worldwide attention to the disregard for federal law and local violence that was used to enforce segregation.
“The Freedom Riders as well as countless other organizations and individuals peacefully challenged what was an inherently unjust system of segregation that existed in some regions of the United States,” said Mayor Cutter.
Carol Ruth Silver was arrested and jailed as a Freedom Rider along with other activists. At the time of her arrest, she was a 22-year-old recent college graduate from Massachusetts.
She spent the next 40 days in Mississippi jail cells. She chronicled her horrifying experiences on hidden scraps of paper and smuggled them out upon release.
From these notes she published Freedom Rider Diary 50 years later.
Silver graduated from law school in 1964 and spent her post-law school internship working for African-American attorney Floyd McKissick, who later became head of the Congress for Racial Equality.
From 1977–1989, she served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, working with LGBT pioneer Harvey Milk on legislation.
Silver now devotes her energy to pro bono educational projects.
Freddye M. Davis, president of the Hayward Branch of the NAACP, will speak on her personal experiences during the civil rights movement.
She was one of two NAACP members honored as “Woman of the Year” by the California State Legislature in 2006 for her strength as a crusader for civil rights.
Since moving to Hayward in 1967, Ms. Davis has continued her efforts in creating greater awareness on race equality and has been President of the Hayward Branch since 1990.
A book-signing session for Silver and a reception will follow for both honored guests.
For more information, please call the Library Information Desk at (510) 577-3971.