The Interstate Commerce Commission Friday barred racial discrimination on interstate buses or in their terminal facilities. (The Associated Press)
Acting on a petition by Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, the Interstate Commerce Commission issues an order titled "Discrimination in Operations of Interstate Motor Carriers of Passengers," to go into effect November 1. It reads, in part:
180a (1) Discrimination prohibited. No motor common carrier of passengers subject to section 216 of the Interstate Commerce Act shall operate a motor vehicle in interstate or foreign commerce on which the seating of passengers is based upon race, color, creed, or national origin.
180a (4) Discrimination in terminal facilities. No motor common carrier of passengers subject to section 216 of the Interstate Commerce Act shall in the operations of vehicles in interstate or foreign commerce provide, maintain arrangements for, utilize, make available, adhere to any understanding for the availability of, or follow any practice which includes the availability of, any terminal facilities which are so operated, arranged or maintained as to involve any separation of any portion thereof, or in the use thereof on the basis of race, color, creed, or national origin.
Ray Arsenault, author of "Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice," would describe the order this way: "This was the first unambiguous victory in the long road of the civil rights movement. It finally said that 'you know, we can do this,' and it raised expectations across the board for greater victories in the future."
Buses were also required to post signs stating: "Seating aboard this vehicle is without regard to race, color, creed, or national origin, by order of the Interstate Commerce Commission." The sign at left was removed from a Greyhound bus at the terminal in Jackson, Mississippi; the "out" in "without" had been cut away. (Photo from http://hist.us/.)
* "Discrimination in Interstate Bus Transportation" (The Crisis magazine, November 1961; includes entire text of ICC order): @
* "Waiting for the ICC" (from Federal Highway Administration): @
* "The ICC Ruling" (also from Federal Highway Administration): @
* Earlier blog post about Freedom Rides: @
* Freedom Rides resources: @