Hundreds Turn Out For Opening Reception of “Get On Board” Exhibit Sponsored by the Legislative Black Caucus and the California Museum

February 7, 2011

Sacramento, CA – Hundreds turned out to kick off Black History Month with the California Legislative Black Caucus at the opening reception of “Get On Board: Stories of the Los Angeles to Houston Freedom Ride,” at the California Museum at 1020 O Street, Sacramento, CA.

The historical exhibit, which highlights the seldom heard story of CORE’s (Congress of Racial Equality) freedom ride from Los Angeles, California to Houston, Texas in August of 1961, will be on display through May 29th at the California Museum.

Four members of the historic ride attended the opening festivities and stirred the audience with tales of their courageous venture. They were: Bob Farrell, Ellen Broms, Steve McNichols and Pat Kovner.

“We were a kick-butt group who refused to be intimidated,” said Bob Farrell, former long-time Los Angeles City Councilman. “We need more kick-butt people today.”

Steven McNichols, a retired San Francisco attorney, showed the scars he sustained when he was brutalized and arrested by police while trying to desegregate a Houston restaurant. Ellen Broms, who currently resides in Sacramento, is still involved in the Peace movement.

Elected officials including President pro Tem, Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John A. Perez previewed the exhibit, which commemorates the 50th Anniversary of the freedom rides and underscores the ambitious optimism that inspired 11 Californians to leave their schools, their families and their homes to Get On Board a train for a ride to secure the promise of freedom and liberty for all Americans.

 “I am really honored to showcase this unique collection in the State Capitol, and share a piece of our history with a wide population of citizens, young and old,” said Senator Curren D. Price Jr., Chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus.

“These courageous young people left their comfortable lives in California and went to the segregated South to fight for the rights of every American to enjoy equality and social justice.

“The Freedom Rides played a significant role in changing public policy in California and across the United States of America,” Senator Price said. “Their stories must be told and remembered.”