Interview with Gov. John Patterson
QUESTION 19
INTERVIEWER:

(INTERRUPTION. TAKE 4.) TELL ME A LITTLE BIT WHAT HAPPENED IN BIRMINGHAM BRIEFLY. START WITH THE OTHER BUS WENT TO BIRMINGHAM AND JUST TELL US BRIEFLY WHAT HAPPENED.

Gov. John Patterson:

After the bus was burned, they sent another bus out and brought the Freedom Riders into the city of Birmingham to the bus station there, where there was ah, some type of controversy there and the city of Birmingham, of police were involved in the handling of that situation there. The police commissioner was Mr. Bull Connor at that time. We were watching the situation, but of course we felt that Birmingham was capable of handling it and indeed they had sufficient personnel to handle it. And of course you, when you're the Governor of the state you have to give the municipalities, the cities an opportunity to perform the duties and functions, and we felt like Birmingham could handle it. And they were ultimately put in jail in Birmingham. After a few days in jail there they were fasting and causing difficulties in the jail, the Freedom Riders were. And so Mr. Connor took them out of jail, carried them up to the Tennessee line and put them out over the Tennessee line, and they beat him back to Birmingham. And things started all over again. Well, ultimately they, they got on a bus and started toward Montgomery. This was several days later. And they, we got really interested in the Riders because it was obvious then that there was great trouble brewing there.