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A UMW graduate and 39 other students from across the country are retracing the route of the original Freedom Ride
Date published: 5/9/2011
Speakers at yesterday's UMW stop talked at length about Farmer, who co-founded what became the Congress of Racial Equality. The event was the university's culmination of a semester-long tribute to the rides.
UMW professor Tim O'Donnell, who teaches a course on the Freedom Riders, played a recording of Farmer speaking to Mary Washington students.
"It brought tears to my eyes," Diamond said. "They say something like absence makes the heart grow fonder. After the Freedom Ride, I don't think I saw Jim Farmer more than three more times."
Diamond didn't graduate from college until five years after the rides.
Reed, on the other hand, received his degree in business administration despite missing Saturday's graduation. UMW surprised him with a personal commencement yesterday.
"Will the audience please stand for the conferring of the degree," said Hurley, standing in front of the Farmer bust.
He then presented Reed with a framed copy of his diploma. "I was very grateful," Reed said later. "It meant a lot."
He says he plans to find his passion in business and possibly pursue his MBA in a couple years. For now, he looks forward to learning from Freedom Riders such as Diamond.
And Diamond said he hopes the younger passengers "keep the message going."
"Unfortunately, kids today consider what is as what always was," he said. "I keep saying we've got to get this message to the younger generation. So just meeting these kids on the bus is a thing unto itself."pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/freedomriders/2011
Jeff Branscome: 540/374-5402