MOUNT VERNON — Freedom Riders were groups of white and African American civil rights activists who participated in bus trips through the American South in 1961 to protest segregated bus terminals. They tried to use “whites-only” restrooms and lunch counters in a non-violent manner at bus stations in Alabama, South Carolina and other Southern states, and were confronted by arresting police officers — as well as horrific violence from white protesters — along their routes that drew international attention to their cause.

Thursday, Oct. 11, the Chautauqua Series welcomes Dr. Annette Jefferson to The Grand Hotel, located at 12 Public Square in downtown Mount Vernon. Dr. Jefferson has portrayed Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Ethel Waters and Rosa Parks for the series in the past and always has an amazing way of bring history to life and showing the struggles of blacks and whites through the years.

The Grand Hotel provides a comfortable conference room on the lower floor that is easily accessible to people with special needs such as wheel chairs, walkers and baby carriages and is a great setting for these family friendly programs. The doors will open at 6 p.m., with opening performers Jeff Putnam, Chris Petee and Mike Petee performing the music of Peter, Paul & Mary starting at 7 p.m. with Dr. Jefferson at approximately 7:45. Immediately after the presentation, Dr. Jefferson will answer any question about this civil rights era and the activities surrounding the Freedom Riders. This a great way to enhance students’ understanding of the period in history.

The Chautauquas are organized and presented by Elixir Presents with the support of the Ariel Foundation and the Grand Hotel on a donation basis. For more information about this program and upcoming presentations, please visit or You can also call 740-392-6102 or 740-392-3018. If you would like to receive a “Gentle Reminder” email on the Sunday before each program, contact Mike Petee at

Finally, mark Tuesday, Dec. 4, on your calendar. The annual Food For The Hungry Concert will be held at the Memorial Theater featuring the music of Tom Petty, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan and George Harrison and the cost will be a can of food and/or cash for our needy neighbors.



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