In December 1960, the Supreme Court ruled that segregation was illegal in bus stations, restaurants and bathrooms that served interstate buses. Yet throughout much of the South, towns continued to enforce segregation. In May 1961, 13 black and white students boarded Greyhound and Trailways buses bound for New Orleans to challenge the Jim Crow laws. They sat together on the buses, ate together at the bus-station restaurants and used bathrooms marked for the opposite race. On Mother's Day, May 14, 1961, a mob outside of Anniston, Ala., attacked the Greyhound bus by slashing its tires and throwing a firebomb through a window. The bus burned and the riders inside barely escaped. In Anniston and Birmingham, other Freedom Riders were beaten so badly they couldn't continue the journey, but their story inspired hundreds of other riders who began taking buses through the Deep South. Today the burned Greyhound bus is on display at Alabama's Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.
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