Thomas Armstrong participated in the Freedom Rides in 1961. Armstrong was born in Silver Creek, Mississippi. He was just 14 in 1955 when young Emmett Till, was kidnapped, tortured, and killed in Mississippi for whistling at a white woman. Three years later, as a student at Tougaloo College, Armstrong got involved in civil rights work.
Armstrong organized black Mississippians to register to vote, despite threats on his life. And in 1961 he and three other Tougaloo students took part in the Freedom Rides, a campaign to integrate interstate buses. Though they were arrested in a whites-only waiting room before they could even board their Trailways bus to New Orleans, the so-called Tougaloo Four inspired dozens of others to make the dangerous trips.
Armstrong had an easier time than others evading the Ku Klux Klan and local officials (often the same people) because his last name was different from that of the relatives who raised him. But by 1962 the Klan had figured out who he was. He fled to Kansas City, then moved on to Chicago. Armstrong wrote the Autobiography of a Freedom Rider: My Life as a Foot Soldier for Civil Rights (Health Communications), written along with Natalie Bell.[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Lir1lK6N_k[/embedyt]