On Thursday, January 17th Designer Glitz & Glamour Salon and Spa hosted the Mississippi Freedom Riders. These were the individuals who as teenagers integrated the U.S busing system in the south.
The room was filled with laughter, astonishment and sometimes tears as the Mississippi Freedom Riders recounted their time as Civil Rights activist in the south during the 1960’s. The panel was opened by a short film dedicated to the Freedom Rider Jessie Davis, now deceased then Public Relations Manager, Lisa Jackson introduced each Freedom Rider to the audience.
All Photos in Slideshow By: Designer Glitz & Glamour, Photographer UGM Photography
Freedom Rider and founder of the Dr. Bowie Foundation, Mrs. Barbara Bowie began the presentation. She recounted a tale of glee and excitement about joining the group. She’d followed her older Brother Jessie Davis into the movement. As her story continued, she recounted a harrowing but oh so familiar to African Americans of the time, a story of her Mother, deathly ill being denied services at a local hospital. Mrs. Bowie ended her tale with pronouncement of hope and forgiveness for all. Next Mrs. Patricia Dilworth – now a San Antonio native, told how while living in Phoenix Arizona she’d seen the news footage of the movement. Seeing the injustice suffered by the Civil Rights activist she decided at age 17 that she had to go to Mississippi and put her life on the line for freedom. She was arrested multiple times. She spoke of the green and rotting food they were served while in jail. She spoke of the humiliation they’d suffered through unnecessary body searches “Anything they could do to try and break us they did” said Mrs. Dilworth. She also told of Americans throughout the nation who donated to CORE to pay the court fees and fines they racked up by numerous arrests. Lastly, Mr. Hezekiah Watkins told of his first arrest at age 13. Watkins was arrested and placed on death row at Mississippi’s most notorious prison, Parchman, He was not given any “Special” or coddling treatment while at Parchman. He was a prisoner, like all the rest. Hezekiah Watkins would go on to be arrested 109 times before finally joining the U.S Army. Mr. Watkins ended his story singing a line from the Gospel traditional “Oh Freedom” he sang, loud and with crown participation, “And before I’d be a slave, I’ll be buried in my grave, and go home to my Lord and be free!”
Photo: John Owens
Salon Manager, Debra Seward introduced and thanked Universal City Mayor John
Williams, The Buffalo Soldiers, Mr. Oliver Hill, Mr. John Owens and members of the State and local NAACP members for their attendance. She also thanked everyone who attended that evening's event.
The evening closed out with a heartfelt thank you and an invitation to visit the salon again from Designer Glitz & Glamour Salon and Spa owner LeDale Coles.
Designer Glitz & Glamour would like to especially thank those members of the business community who donated food for this event. Please help us thank Mrs. Kitchen Soul Food Restaurant, Jewell’s, Emily Draddy and USmackn for all the delicious food! Most importantly, Designer Glitz & Glamour would like to thank The Mississippi Freedom Riders for making everything we enjoy possible.