Unit 4 Post 2 – Jake Matthews

The context of this page is that the Freedom Riders are spending the night in a bus depot under order of the local police department. This is typical of the abusive and controlling scare-tactics that the police have implemented to make the Freedom Riders feel powerless, but this instance is the first in which a new danger has emerged. The Ku Klux Klan has been mentioned several times up to this point, a looming threat that haunts the Freedom Riders with all the inevitability and destructive power of death itself. The very mention of the Klan and the violence that they are capable of has served as a significant obstacle in not only the course of this story, but the civil rights movement as a whole. To finally see the Klan standing outside the building, a massive mob of shadows standing amongst the police, creating a barrier between the Freedom Riders and the Greyhound Buses that are the crux of their current protest, is a dramatic and terrifying reveal that allows the reader to grasp a faint understanding of the terror that the Freedom Riders themselves must have felt.

Several components of the page’s illustrations illuminate the reader as to the gravity of the situation. The unabashed horror on the faces of the Freedom Riders as they peer outside the windows is unmistakable; they are desperately afraid that they are going to die at any moment.The Klansmen are silhouetted against the night sky and the buses. This glorifies the buses as a righteous source of light that can deliver them from harm if they can only be permitted to reach them, which is both a literal fact of the scenario as well as being symbolic for the effects that the Freedom Rides could have on ending segregation as a whole. The Klansmen are demonized by giving them the visage of shadowy monsters, barely distinguishable from one another as they stand like one massive monstrous creature, their shining eyes like a pack of wolves watching a dying animal. The lack of dialogue in this page, the minor amount only used to say that the Klan is more of a concern than lack of food or sleep, shows that the threat of the Klan is so great that it needs no introduction or explanation.

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