Wilcox, Laird M.

In May 1961, retired Michigan professor Walter Bergman and his wife Frances joined eleven others in a racially integrated Freedom Ride of the South, as a challenge to segregation. At Birmingham, Alabama, their members were beaten with fists and clubs by Ku Klux Klansmen, causing Walter Bergman to suffer permanent injuries which confined him to a wheelchair for the remainder of his life. He later filed a lawsuit against the Federal Bureau of Investigation, charging that it knew of the Klan's planned attack, but did nothing to prevent it. The Bergmans continued to work for civil rights, receiving honors from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and from the American Civil Liberties Union.

From the guide to the Walter Bergman, Freedom Rider collection, 1984, (University of Kansas Kenneth Spencer Research Library Wilcox Collection, Kansas Collection)


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