Freedom Rider Benjamin Elton Cox in 1961.

  • Courtesy University of Arkansas Special Collections
  • Freedom Rider Benjamin Elton Cox in 1961.

Saturday, 9 a.m., Mosaic Templars Cultural Center. Free.

Fifty years ago, five activists were arrested for trying to integrate interstate bus terminals in Little Rock. These Freedom Riders were key players in the early days of the civil rights movement in Arkansas, and several of them will discuss their experiences at this symposium, which will focus on the work of the Arkansas Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (known as Arsnick) and its affiliate organizations.

Several Freedom Riders and SNCC members will be participating in the symposium, as well as key players who were involved with Gould Citizens for Progress, a group that fought against that town’s segregationist policies. The symposium includes four programs and runs until 5:15.


At 2 p.m. on Sunday July 10, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, the city and the Clinton Foundation will mark the historic integration ride at the 1961 Freedom Riders 50th Anniversary Celebration at the Old State House. Gov. Mike Beebe, UALR Chancellor Joel Anderson, former Transportation Secretary Rod Slater and John Curtis Raines, one of the Freedom Riders who was arrested, will all attend.

They will unveil a marker at the site of the old Trailways Depot and inaugurate the Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail, which runs from the former bus station site on Markham Street and to the Clinton Presidential Center.