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Walter Bergman, Freedom Rider collection

 Collection — Folder: 1
Call Number: RH WL MS 6


This volume, compiled by Laird M. Wilcox, contains copies of Federal Bureau of Investigation documents that were produced in a lawsuit filed against the FBI by civil rights advocate Walter Bergman who, as a Freedom Ride participant, was beaten by Ku Klux Klansmen in 1961 at Birmingham, Alabama. The documents relate to the FBI's knowledge of events leading up to the attack, including its interactions with the Klan and with local police.


  • Creation: 1984


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

History of Walter Bergman and the Freedom Riders of 1961

In May 1961, retired Michigan professor Walter Bergman and his wife Frances joined eleven others in a racially integrated Freedom Ride of the South, as a challenge to segregation. At Birmingham, Alabama, their members were beaten with fists and clubs by KU Klux Klansmen, causing Walter Bergman to suffer permanent injuries which confined him to a wheelchair for the remainder of his life. He later filed a lawsuit against the Federal Bureau of Investigation, charging that it knew of the Klan's planned attack, but did nothing to prevent it. The Bergmans continued to work for civil rights, receiving honors from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and from the American Civil Liberties Union.


1 folder (ring-bound volume)

Language of Materials


Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Laird M. Wilcox, 1985

Guide to the Walter Bergman Freedom Rider Collection
Walter Bergman, Freedom Rider collection
Finding aid prepared by mh, 2007 Finding aid encoded by mh, 2007
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in<language encodinganalog="language">English.</language>
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Preferred citation
Wilcox, Laird M, Walter Bergman, Freedom Rider collection, Wilcox Collection, Kansas Collection, RH WL MS 6, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States