Interview with James Farmer
QUESTION 26
INTERVIEWER:

TELL ME ABOUT YOUR FATHER'S PREDICTION, HEARING YOU WERE GOING TO TAKE THE FREEDOM RIDE.

James Farmer:

Yes, while the Freedom Riders were undergoing their week of intensive training in Washington in preparation for beginning the ride, my father was in the hospital, terminally ill of cancer in Washington, DC. I went to see him and told him of the Freedom Ride and gave him a copy of our itinerary, explained what we were going to do and how we were going to do it. He pondered it for awhile, studied the itinerary, and then said, "Well, son, I think you will be all right through Virginia and North Carolina and maybe even through South Carolina, possibly through Georgia, but not in Alabama. In Alabama, they will take a pop-shot [pot shot?] at you. I hope they miss, but I seriously doubt that you will reach Mississippi. If you do, you will think that Alabama was purgatory and Mississippi is hell, because that will be even worse." He said, "I am certain that you will not reach New Orleans." It had been our plan to arrive in New Orleans on May 17, the anniversary of the Supreme Court school-desegregation decision.