On Apr. 16, 2012, Eric Etheridge, photographer and author of Breach of Peace: Portraits of 1961 Mississippi Freedom Riders, along with Freedom Riders Delores Williams, Margaret Leonard, Dodie Smith-Simmons, and Bob Zellner (author of The Wrong Side of Murder Creek) visited McComb.
They met with students in assemblies at Denman Junior High and McComb High School and met with community members in the youth building. This was the first stop in a tour with Freedom Ride veterans made possible through funding from the Mississippi Fiftieth Foundation and the Ford Foundation.
The Enterprise Journal posted a front page article on the visit. Reporter Rhonda Dunaway explained that:
[Eric Etheridge] was impressed with how much of their own history McComb students knew. “The kids were very enthusiastic. It was apparent that they had been learning about the history in McComb,” he said.
Etheridge hopes this tour with living members of civil rights history will inspire other students to learn about the era of racial unrest and struggle for equal rights in their own town.
Students in McComb had another opportunity to dialogue directly with Freedom Riders as part of a national student webinar hosted by PBS on the release of the film Freedom Riders in 2011.
The junior high, high school, and public library each received a signed copy of Breach of Peace.
View more photos at the McComb School District website.