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Local Freedom Rider Passes Away

Genevieve Houghton of Carbondale was one of the original Freedom Riders that worked to end Jim Crow laws in the south in 1961.

Freedom Rider Genevieve Hughes Houghton of Carbondale died Tuesday night after a long battle with cancer.   She was surrounded by friends.

In 1961, Houghton was one of the original 13 members of the Congress of Racial Equality Freedom Ride.  The Freedom Riders risked their lives to end the Jim Crow laws that enforced racial segregation in the southern United States.  She narrowly escaped death when her Greyhound bus was attacked and fire-bombed by a mob outside Anniston, Alabama.  At the age of 28 Houghton was a former financial analyst for Dun and Bradstreet.  She became active in the New York City chapter of CORE during the late 1950’s. Houghton made the shift to full-time activism in 1960. Her story was included in the recent PBS American Experience "Freedom Riders" documentary.  She graciously participated in WSIU's local screenings of the film and was interviewed for WSIU Radio’s Morning Conversation and WSIU TV’s InFocus about the Freedom Riders.

A memorial for Genevieve Houghton is planned for Saturday, October 13 at the Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship.  She was 80.

Her interview on WSIU TV appears below.

Jeff Williams is the Associate Director for Radio and Station Manager for WSIU Radio. Jeff is a native of southern Illinois and has been in broadcasting for 30 years. Contact WSIU Radio at 618-453-6101 or email wsiuradio@wsiu.org
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