Original Freedom Rider remembers Dr. King on MLK Day

CINCINNATI - The Tri-State took the first federal holiday of 2012 to remember Doctor Martin Luther King Jr.
Some of those who fought alongside Dr. King, during those civil rights struggles, took time with 9 News to reflect on the past well as look ahead to the future.
These days, we take being able to freely travel throughout the United States for granted. But Betty Daniels-Rosemond remembers having to fight for the right to sit anywhere on an interstate bus, and use any waiting room.

Rosemond was one of the original Freedom Riders who traveled by bus around the South in the early 1960s to desegrate buses and terminals. Although Dr. King was an inspiration for her, she actually joined the Freedom riders to help her mother.

"I got involved because I loved my mother and wanted my mom to have an equal opportunity to be the same as everybody else," she said.

Rosemond traveled throughout Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Texas as a Freedom Rider. She admits following Dr. King's call for non violence wasn't easy.

"In time, It led to many arrests. It lead to beatings. It led to a lot of violence but we were trained to be nonviolent," Rosemond said.

She says Dr. King's non-violence lessons turned into a gift.

"So, I really thank God because of the non-violent training, came a lesson in love. Because no matter what happened we couldn't turn around, and we know that we were motivated to continue. That a change had to happen."

Rosemond says she's pleased to see Cincinnati remember Dr. King on the 2012 holiday because his lessons are still valuable for young people.

"We must learn that there were prices paid: people who lost their lives in the struggle... and I came very close to losing mine. But I thank God that I'm here today and he left me here for a reason... to get the story out."

During his speech at the 1963 March on Washington, Dr. King famously said, "We'll one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today."

Rosemond says the need for those lessons continues, as does her drive to continue the fight for civil rights.

"We must learn how to get along as a nation. So, people ask me all the time, would I get on the bus again? If it becomes necessary. And I want to say, 'yes'. I'm a senior but I would get on the bus again."

Rosemond says the lessons of Dr. King are as important today as they were 40 years ago in fighting to make sure everyone has equal opportunity for themselves and their families.

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