Bham Now special: Inspirational video of Hank Thomas, the last surviving Freedom Rider from the 1961 Greyhound bus burning

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Hank Thomas, last surviving Freedom Rider from the Greyhound bus burning near Anniston, Alabama that occurred on Mother’s Day 1961. He spoke to Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell and a crowd of Freedom Rider National Monument supporters in October at the site of the bus burning.

Thanks to President Obama’s proclamation yesterday, Freedom Riders National Monument and the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument are now a reality.

BREAKING NEWS – President Obama Proclaims Freedom Riders & Birmingham Civil Rights National Monuments 

In a Bham Now exclusive – Check out the video below of Hank Thomas, the last remaining Freedom Rider from the Greyhound bus burning, speaking to Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell in October, alongside the site where the bus was burned. At approximately 5:50 on the video, Thomas talks about a 12 year old girl named Janie Forsyth McKinney, who in the midst of a mob, gave Thomas water after he escaped the burning bus.  McKinney and Thomas 55 years later, both requested the Secretary and the President to support the National Monument proclamation.

Today, the President followed through on that request.

Want to learn more about the Freedom Rider National Monument?  Visit the Freedom Riders Park website, which includes in under the media subheading videos of Freedom Riders and community leaders.


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Pat Byington
Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.
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