ST. CHARLES – In the segregated deep South, when lynching and Klansmen and Jim Crow laws ruled, there stood a line of foot soldiers ready to sacrifice their lives for the right to vote, to enter rooms marked 'White Only,' and to live with simple dignity.
They were called Freedom Riders, and Thomas Armstrong III was one of them.
The St. Charles Public Library will host a special program in honor of Black History Month at 1 p.m. Feb. 21. Armstrong will share his story, “Autobiography of a Freedom Rider: My Life as a Foot Solder for Civil Rights," which details his experiences and personal repercussion he endured for being a champion of the civil rights movement.
Armstrong is a veteran of the early 1960s civil rights movement in his native Mississippi. He is a Civic Education Consultant who works with teachers and students to learn about the civil rights movement.
As a student at historically black Tougaloo College from 1959-1963, he joined a small group of colleagues and faculty members who launched early protests for voting rights and equal public accommodations. These were demonstrations led by NAACP leaders, and included ordinary men and women of the South, both black and white.
He is a retired transportation contracts manager, having worked at the United States Postal Service for 37 years. Armstrong has provided presentations on Civil Education and Engagement at dozens of universities, colleges and libraries.
Registration is required. Sign up at the library's reference desk, by calling 630-584-0076, ext. 1 or online at www.scpld.org. The St. Charles Public Library is located at One South Sixth Avenue in St. Charles.