Sunday, February 15, 2009

Freedom Rider Etta Simpson Ray to Speak at Clayton State on February 19

Clayton State University’s Department of Campus Life will host “Freedom Rider,” with Etta Simpson Ray, on Thursday, Feb. 19 at 11:30 a.m. in room 267 of the James M. Baker Center on the Clayton State campus.

“The 14 Freedom Riders from Tennessee State University were expelled from school for being a part of the Freedom Riders in 1961,” explains Dr. LaJuan Simpson, Clayton Sate associate Professor of English. “In 2008, those students were honored and given honorary degrees. This honor made national news.

“One of the 14 is my aunt. Many students were interested in her story, so I thought it would be beneficial to the students to bring her to Clayton State University.”

During the 1960’s the Freedom Riders consisted of whites and blacks who decided that they wanted to challenge old Jim Crow laws. The group used public transportation as their means for change and they were often met an angry and violent crowds.

“Etta Simpson Ray’s story will give the Clayton State University community a strong first-hand account of the struggle during segregation,” Simpson explains. “It will provide the community with a greater sense of the magnitude of the Civil Rights movement from a women's perspective.”

For more information, contact Simpson at or (678) 466-4558.

A unit of the University System of Georgia, Clayton State University is an outstanding comprehensive metropolitan university located 15 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta.
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