Freedom Riders Park sign damaged by fire
by Brian Anderson
banderson@annistonstar.com
Nov 04, 2012 | 8084 views |  0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Carl Hutchins and Charlie Doster work this afternoon to replace a sign marking marking the future Freedom Riders Park. A fire late Saturday or early Sunday morning damaged the sign. (Photo by Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
Carl Hutchins and Charlie Doster work this afternoon to replace a sign marking marking the future Freedom Riders Park. A fire late Saturday or early Sunday morning damaged the sign. (Photo by Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
slideshow
Joyce Hutchins takes a photo of the damaged sign marking the future site of Freedom Riders Park on Alabama 202, while her husband Carl works to repair the sign. A small group was there this afternoon to repair damage from a fire that burned the sign late Saturday or early Sunday morning. (Photo by Bill Wilson./The Anniston Star)
Joyce Hutchins takes a photo of the damaged sign marking the future site of Freedom Riders Park on Alabama 202, while her husband Carl works to repair the sign. A small group was there this afternoon to repair damage from a fire that burned the sign late Saturday or early Sunday morning. (Photo by Bill Wilson./The Anniston Star)
slideshow
Volunteers this afternoon replaced part of a sign, damaged by fire overnight, marking the site of the planned Freedom Riders Park on the spot where a mob burned a bus carrying civil rights demonstrators.

Pete Conroy, the co-chair of the park's organizing committee, said the wooden sign announcing the park on Alabama 202 was burned by a fire set sometime Saturday night.

“It’s disappointing,” Conroy said. “But I think it emphasizes the need for understanding and education and the need for the kind of positivity that we’re trying to bring with this park.”

A back panel on the wooden sign outlining the history of the event on Mother’s Day 1961 when a mob firebombed a bus carrying Civil Rights activists through the state protesting segregation laws was completely burned away.

The front panel of the sign, facing Alabama 202 and reading “Future home of Freedom Riders Park” was partially burned.

Calls to investigators at the Anniston Police Department and Anniston Fire Department were not immediately returned Sunday afternoon.

Conroy said police told him there were no suspects yet, but there might have been a witness in the area sometime around 2 a.m.

The sign for the park was unveiled last month at a groundbreaking ceremony. Conroy said he hopes to kick off a national campaign to raise money to complete the park in the near future.


Click here to see photos from the park groundbreaking ceremony

Conroy said he received several calls Sunday morning about the sign, including from state Rep. Barbara Boyd and Anniston Mayor-elect Vaughn Stewart.

“This act of intimidation would not have deterred the Freedom Riders 50 years ago, and it will not deter this community today,” Stewart said in a prepared statement. “Anniston will redouble its efforts to build the Freedom Riders Park and pay tribute to those American heroes.”

Conroy said the group was placing a new front panel, facing the highway, on the sign today. He hoped to replace the back panel sometime in the next few days.

Staff writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.

Comments must be made through Facebook
No personal attacks
No name-calling
No offensive language
Comments must stay on topic
No infringement of copyrighted material


Friends to Follow



Today's Events

event calendar

post a new event

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Marketplace