On November 1, 1961, Alice Marie Thompson joined other New Orleans Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) members to test the Interstate Commerce Commission’s new policy of bus desegregation at the New Orleans Trailways bus terminal located on Loyola Avenue. [1] Information regarding the test’s impact on Riders or the New Orleans community has little documentation. However, according to Julia Aaron-Humbles, another New Orleans activist, some locals regularly took care of the New Orleans CORE members, providing housing, food, nurturing, and training to prepare those like Alice for the violence ahead. [2] 

On November 14, Alice Marie Thompson and other CORE members tested bus desegregation in Hattiesburg and Poplarville, Mississippi. The police arrested Alice and charged her with a “breach of peace.” [3] The mayor of Poplarville, Pat Hyde, fined Alice Thompson $250.00 and sentenced her to two months in jail. The police released Alice, along with two other activists, Frank Nelson and Patricia Smith, through a paid bond. [4]

On November 29, 1961, Alice also joined in the testing of bus desegregation in McComb, Mississippi along with her sister, Jean. While there, a mob of white people attacked Alice and other CORE members, shouting “Kill ‘em! Kill ‘em.” [5] According to the New York Times writer Claude Sitton, Alice and the other CORE members fled the bus terminal, rested for the evening, and then attempted a sit-in at a local cafe after a reported gas leak at the bus terminal. White men attacked the CORE members, kicking and shoving them through the cafe door onto the street. [6] 

Though the Freedom Ride to McComb was the last for Alice Thompson, she continued to engage in other civil rights activism including the 1962 Louisiana Freedom Summer, the 1962 Mississippi Freedom Summer, and the 1963 March on Washington, known for Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream Speech.” [7]  



1001 Loyola Ave, New Orleans, LA 70113