The buses were met by angry whites in many cities, and police often would give the mobs 10-15 minutes to beat the activists before putting a stop to the violence.
"In Birmingham (Ala.) it was mostly fists, … and they forcefully threw us to the back of the bus," said Charles Person, a Morehouse College student at the time and, at 18, the youngest of the CORE Freedom Riders. "What prevented me from getting more savagely beaten was, two of the white riders came to my rescue."
“In our fight for freedom, we had allies,” said Atlanta businessman and civil rights activist Hank Thomas, who was a Howard University student when he joined the Freedom Riders. "Just like the defeat of Germany involved Allies, we had allies. And our allies were the American Jews. Fifty percent of all the Freedom Riders eventually were white.”
Added Dr. William Harbour: “And I really believe that if we didn’t have the participation of the young white students we wouldn’t have been this far, as far as progress in the United States.”