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Press Conference: Congressman John Lewis and James Zwerg
Press Conference: Congressman John Lewis and James Zwerg
Published: 2015/06/16
Channel: LawrenceUniversity
FR Project - Jim Zwerg in Hospital
FR Project - Jim Zwerg in Hospital
Published: 2008/05/01
Channel: pinktank10
AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: Freedom Riders: The Exchange Student
AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: Freedom Riders: The Exchange Student
Published: 2011/03/01
Channel: AmericanExperiencePBS
Conversations with Jim Zwerg History
Conversations with Jim Zwerg History
Published: 2015/12/30
Channel: Zach Ben-Amots
Jonathon Van Maren interviews Freedom Rider James Zwerg
Jonathon Van Maren interviews Freedom Rider James Zwerg
Published: 2016/01/25
Channel: The Bridgehead
Jim Zwerg - A Great American White Man ...a Hero
Jim Zwerg - A Great American White Man ...a Hero
Published: 2010/09/28
Channel: Khalif Sarahize
James Zwerg: Civil Rights Hero
James Zwerg: Civil Rights Hero
Published: 2015/03/09
Channel: SilentNerfNinja
James Zwerg with ACU Freedom Riders
James Zwerg with ACU Freedom Riders
Published: 2011/05/18
Channel: DrRichardBeckACU
18 RARE HISTORICAL PHOTOS [Pt. 7]
18 RARE HISTORICAL PHOTOS [Pt. 7]
Published: 2016/12/15
Channel: Perfect Life
Big Bull Sea Lion gets Close
Big Bull Sea Lion gets Close
Published: 2015/02/10
Channel: James Zwerg
The Freedom Riders (1): 1961 Effort to Challenge Segregated Bus System
The Freedom Riders (1): 1961 Effort to Challenge Segregated Bus System
Published: 2010/02/01
Channel: StartLoving2
20 RARE HISTORICAL PHOTOS [Pt. 8]
20 RARE HISTORICAL PHOTOS [Pt. 8]
Published: 2016/12/17
Channel: Perfect Life
Big Turtle at 100 feet
Big Turtle at 100 feet
Published: 2015/02/10
Channel: James Zwerg
The Shoot
The Shoot
Published: 2015/02/10
Channel: James Zwerg
Riding the Bow
Riding the Bow
Published: 2015/02/06
Channel: James Zwerg
James Zwerg
James Zwerg
Published: 2017/04/12
Channel: Bruno Flores
ACU Freedom Riders Meeting James Zwerg
ACU Freedom Riders Meeting James Zwerg
Published: 2011/05/18
Channel: DrRichardBeckACU
Are You In Black History Month?
Are You In Black History Month?
Published: 2017/02/01
Channel: Two Be Very Honest
Jim Zwerg Civil Rights
Jim Zwerg Civil Rights
Published: 2015/03/09
Channel: ninjapiggy01
Jim Zwerg Quotes
Jim Zwerg Quotes
Published: 2012/03/14
Channel: quotetank
The Last Light Before Eternal Darkness – White Dwarfs & Black Dwarfs
The Last Light Before Eternal Darkness – White Dwarfs & Black Dwarfs
Published: 2017/05/04
Channel: Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell
The 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides: National Youth Summit
The 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides: National Youth Summit
Published: 2011/02/11
Channel: Smithsonian
Alwynne Pritchard   Der Zwerg | James W  Iman, piano
Alwynne Pritchard Der Zwerg | James W Iman, piano
Published: 2017/10/23
Channel: James Iman
freedom ride panel discussion 2007 Fisk
freedom ride panel discussion 2007 Fisk
Published: 2007/01/28
Channel: mourn light
ZWERG - Fire And Rain (James Taylor)
ZWERG - Fire And Rain (James Taylor)
Published: 2012/09/03
Channel: ZWERGofficial
Hammerhead Sharks and Sea Lions at San Pedro Nolasco Pinacles October 18 2013
Hammerhead Sharks and Sea Lions at San Pedro Nolasco Pinacles October 18 2013
Published: 2015/02/06
Channel: James Zwerg
freedom ride panel discussion 2007 Fisk
freedom ride panel discussion 2007 Fisk
Published: 2007/01/28
Channel: mourn light
JimmyZ Free Diving
JimmyZ Free Diving
Published: 2015/02/06
Channel: James Zwerg
Zemlinsky - Der Zwerg Op. 17
Zemlinsky - Der Zwerg Op. 17
Published: 2013/02/01
Channel: Léo Marillier
Der Zwerg · Ein tragisches Märchen für Musik in einem Akt (Live Recording) : Zwerg! Hofnarr,...
Der Zwerg · Ein tragisches Märchen für Musik in einem Akt (Live Recording) : Zwerg! Hofnarr,...
Published: 2016/08/04
Channel: Soile Isokoski - Topic
Arizona Illustrated May 08, 2012
Arizona Illustrated May 08, 2012
Published: 2012/05/09
Channel: Arizona Public Media
Exklusiv: Der 7bte Zwerg - Preview (German | Deutsch)
Exklusiv: Der 7bte Zwerg - Preview (German | Deutsch)
Published: 2014/08/15
Channel: Moviepilot Trailer
Der Zwerg · Ein tragisches Märchen für Musik in einem Akt (Live Recording) : Lieder die...
Der Zwerg · Ein tragisches Märchen für Musik in einem Akt (Live Recording) : Lieder die...
Published: 2016/08/04
Channel: Soile Isokoski - Topic
Der Zwerg · Ein tragisches Märchen für Musik in einem Akt (Live Recording) : Ich weiß nicht,...
Der Zwerg · Ein tragisches Märchen für Musik in einem Akt (Live Recording) : Ich weiß nicht,...
Published: 2016/08/04
Channel: Soile Isokoski - Topic
"Das war der Zwerg Perkeo ..."
"Das war der Zwerg Perkeo ..."
Published: 2014/07/20
Channel: Cantus Manufaktur
Der Zwerg · Ein tragisches Märchen für Musik in einem Akt (Live Recording) : Weinst du?...
Der Zwerg · Ein tragisches Märchen für Musik in einem Akt (Live Recording) : Weinst du?...
Published: 2016/08/04
Channel: Soile Isokoski - Topic
Der Zwerg · Ein tragisches Märchen für Musik in einem Akt (Live Recording) : Habt ihr
Der Zwerg · Ein tragisches Märchen für Musik in einem Akt (Live Recording) : Habt ihr's...
Published: 2016/08/04
Channel: Soile Isokoski - Topic
Matthew Motarjeme - Freedom Rides
Matthew Motarjeme - Freedom Rides
Published: 2016/05/20
Channel: 8029457
The Freedom Riders (5): 1961 Effort to Challenge Segregated Bus System
The Freedom Riders (5): 1961 Effort to Challenge Segregated Bus System
Published: 2010/02/01
Channel: StartLoving2
Inga Nielsen; Kenneth Riegel; "Der Zwerg"; (Der Geburtstag der Infantin);  Alexander Zemlinsky
Inga Nielsen; Kenneth Riegel; "Der Zwerg"; (Der Geburtstag der Infantin); Alexander Zemlinsky
Published: 2017/01/08
Channel: liederoperagreats
Der Zwerg (Zemlinsky) - André Dos Santos, conductor
Der Zwerg (Zemlinsky) - André Dos Santos, conductor
Published: 2016/10/26
Channel: André Dos Santos
Der Zwerg · Ein tragisches Märchen für Musik in einem Akt (Live Recording) : Weinst du?...
Der Zwerg · Ein tragisches Märchen für Musik in einem Akt (Live Recording) : Weinst du?...
Published: 2017/02/11
Channel: Soile Isokoski - Topic
Wie ein Zwerg aus Glas entsteht / Nový Bor - Czech Republic - 22.8.2011
Wie ein Zwerg aus Glas entsteht / Nový Bor - Czech Republic - 22.8.2011
Published: 2011/09/10
Channel: Suraka1998
King of Queens - Zwerg
King of Queens - Zwerg
Published: 2010/07/15
Channel: KevinManowar666
50th Anniversary of the First Freedom Ride: New Documentary Recounts Historic 1961 Effort
50th Anniversary of the First Freedom Ride: New Documentary Recounts Historic 1961 Effort
Published: 2011/05/04
Channel: mediagrrl9
Der Zwerg · Ein tragisches Märchen für Musik in einem Akt (Live Recording) : Der Sultan...
Der Zwerg · Ein tragisches Märchen für Musik in einem Akt (Live Recording) : Der Sultan...
Published: 2017/02/11
Channel: Soile Isokoski - Topic
911 OPERATOR 🚨 ► [007] ► Let
911 OPERATOR 🚨 ► [007] ► Let's Play 911 Operator german deutsch gameplay
Published: 2017/07/15
Channel: Zwerg Tube
Sensation of the Year - James Brown Jr.
Sensation of the Year - James Brown Jr.
Published: 2015/08/24
Channel: Mirco Nontschew
Der 7bte Zwerg trifft Conchita Zwerg (Otto Waalkes, Daniele Rizzo)
Der 7bte Zwerg trifft Conchita Zwerg (Otto Waalkes, Daniele Rizzo)
Published: 2014/09/24
Channel: Daniele and The Talented Mr. Rizzo
Der Zwerg · Ein tragisches Märchen für Musik in einem Akt (Live Recording) : Das schönste...
Der Zwerg · Ein tragisches Märchen für Musik in einem Akt (Live Recording) : Das schönste...
Published: 2016/08/04
Channel: Soile Isokoski - Topic
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WIKIPEDIA ARTICLE

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James Zwerg
Born (1939-11-28) November 28, 1939 (age 77)
Appleton, Wisconsin
Nationality American
Occupation Former minister, retired
Known for Civil rights activist, Freedom Rider

James Zwerg (born November 28, 1939) is an American former minister who was involved with the Freedom Riders in the early 1960s.

Early life[edit]

Zwerg was born in Appleton, Wisconsin[1] where he lived with his parents and older brother, Charles. His father was a dentist who provided free dental care to the poor on one day per month.[1] Zwerg was very involved in school and took part in the student protests in high school.[2]

Zwerg was also very active in the Christian church, where he attended services regularly. Through the church, he became exposed to the belief in civil equality.[1] He was taught that all men are created equal, no matter what color they are. Jim was one of only a handful of white Christians to join the nonviolent movement.[3]

College and SNCC[edit]

Zwerg attended Beloit College, where he studied sociology. He developed an interest in civil rights from his interactions with his roommate, Robert Carter, an African-American from Alabama.[4] Zwerg recalls: “ I witnessed prejudice against him… we would go to a lunch counter or cafeteria and people would get up and leave the table. I had pledged a particular fraternity and then found out that he was not allowed in the fraternity house. I decided that his friendship was more important than that particular fraternity, so I depledged.” [5] He participated in a one-semester student exchange program in January 1961 at Nashville’s Fisk University, a predominantly black school.[1] At Fisk, Zwerg met John Lewis, who was active in the Civil Rights movement, and was immediately impressed with the way Lewis handled himself and his commitment to the movement.[1] Lewis was a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), a student organized Civil Rights activist group focused on nonviolent direct action. Zwerg joined SNCC and suggested that the group attend a movie.[1] SNCC members explained to Zwerg that Nashville theaters were segregated.[1] Zwerg began attending SNCC nonviolence workshops, often playing the angry bigot in role-play.[1] His first test was to buy two movie tickets and try to walk in with a black man.[1] When trying to enter the theater on February 21, 1961, Zwerg was hit with a monkey wrench and knocked unconscious.[1][4]

Freedom Rides[edit]

In 1961, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) began to organize Freedom Rides. The first departed from Washington, D.C. and involved 13 black and white riders who rode into the South challenging white only lunch counters and restaurants. When they reached Anniston, Alabama one of the buses was ambushed and attacked.[1] Meanwhile, at an SNCC meeting in Tennessee, Lewis, Zwerg and 11 other volunteers decided to be reinforcements. Zwerg was the only white male in the group.[1] Although scared for his life, Zwerg never had second thoughts. He recalled, "My faith was never so strong as during that time. I knew I was doing what I should be doing."[5] The group traveled by bus to Birmingham, where Zwerg was first arrested for not moving to the back of the bus with his black seating companion, Paul Brooks.[1] Three days later, the riders regrouped and headed to Montgomery.[1] At first the bus station there was quiet and eerie, but the scene turned into an ambush, with the riders attacked from all directions. . "Mr. Zwerg was hit with his own suitcase in the face. Then he was knocked down and a group pummeled him" (qtd. in Loory 577). The prostrate activist was beaten into unconsciousness somewhere around the time a man took Zwerg's head between his knees while others took turns pounding and clawing at his face. At one point while Zwerg was unconscious, three men held him up while a woman kicked him in the groin. After it seemed that the worst of the onslaught was over, Zwerg gained semi-consciousness and tried to use the handrails to the loading platform to pull himself to his feet. As he struggled to get upright, a white man came and threw Zwerg over the rail. He crashed to the ground below, landing on his head. He was only the first to be beaten that day, but the attack on him may have been the most ruthless (Loory 573-79).[6] Zwerg recalls, "There was nothing particularly heroic in what I did. If you want to talk about heroism, consider the black man who probably saved my life. This man in coveralls, just off of work, happened to walk by as my beating was going on and said 'Stop beating that kid. If you want to beat someone, beat me.' And they did. He was still unconscious when I left the hospital. I don't know if he lived or died."[5]

Zwerg was denied prompt medical attention because there were no white ambulances available. "I suppose a person has to be dead before anyone will call an ambulance in Montgomery" were Jim's words as he lay in the hospital bed after being brutally beaten.[7] He remained unconscious for two days and stayed in the hospital for five days. His post-riot photos were published in many newspapers and magazines across the country.[1] After his beating, Zwerg claimed he had had an incredible religious experience and God helped him to not fight back.[4] In a 2013 interview recalling the incident, he said, "In that instant, I had the most incredible religious experience of my life. I felt a presence with me. A peace. Calmness. It was just like I was surrounded by kindness, love. I knew in that instance that whether I lived or died, I would be OK."[1] In a famous moving speech from his hospital room, Zwerg stated, "Segregation must be stopped. It must be broken down. Those of us on the Freedom Ride will continue.... We're dedicated to this, we'll take hitting, we'll take beating. We're willing to accept death. But we're going to keep coming until we can ride from anywhere in the South to any place else in the South without anybody making any comments, just as American citizens."[8]

Post-Freedom Rides[edit]

Later in 1961, Martin Luther King presented Zwerg with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Freedom Award. After a conversation with King, Zwerg decided to enroll at Garrett Theological Seminary.[4] He met his future wife Carrie.[1] Zwerg was ordained a minister, serving for five years in three rural Wisconsin communities.[1] The Zwergs settled in Tucson, Arizona in 1970 and had three children.[1] He changed his career several times, including charity organization work and a stint in community relations at IBM.[1] Zwerg retired in 1993 after which the couple built a cabin in rural New Mexico about 50 miles (80 km) from the nearest grocery store.[1] Zwerg continues to spread awareness to this day about the trials and tribulations of the Freedom Rides and how love is what is most important. He recently did a speech on May 18, 2011 at Troy University Rosa Parks Museum. He spoke about the effect the Freedom Rides had on his life.[9] In a recent interview with Lisa Simeone Jim talked about how blessed he was to have been a part of the Movement. "Everywhere we've stopped people have been so gracious and so kind and one of the things that has certainly been rewarding to me has been to see how many people brought their children; seeing a little eight-year-old boy come up to me and talk to me and say, `May I please have your autograph? Thank you for what you did.' That was pretty special. I appreciated that."[10] Zwerg remains a devoted loving Christian to this day and what is most important to him is love. "I think the thing I would add is love is still the most powerful force in the universe. Hatred will never beat it. Violence will never beat it."[11]

There is a reference of Zwerg in a scene of the 1961 Soviet drama film: Kogda derevya byli bolshimi (translated) When the Trees Were Tall where Inna Gulaya is reading an article from an American newspaper describing a Freedom Riders demonstration where Zwerg: "was thrown off the bus and his face was smashed against the hot concrete of the road."

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Gonzalez, Tony (May 31, 2013). "Accidental Advocate Looks Back". Appleton Post Crescent. pp. A1,A4. 
  2. ^ "Zwerg, Jim, 1939-". Civil Rights Digital Library. Digital Library of Georgia. 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-16. 
  3. ^ "Password Logon Page". ic.galegroup.com. Retrieved 2015-11-14. 
  4. ^ a b c d Simkin, John (7 April 2011). "James Zwerg: Biography". Spartacus Educational. Retrieved 2011-05-16. 
  5. ^ a b c "Interview with Jim Zwerg, Civil Rights Activist, United States". Peoples Century. Boston, Massachusetts: Public Broadcasting Corporation (WGBH). Retrieved 2011-05-16. 
  6. ^ (Links to an external site.) "The 1961 Montgomery Freedom Ride Riots." Studies in the Literary Imagination" Check |url= value (help). 
  7. ^ ". "Freedom Riders: A National Geographic Journey in Social Justice through Imagery."Journal of Children's Literature". 
  8. ^ "Transcript: Eyes on the Prize, America's Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1985". PBS. 23 August 2006. Retrieved 2011-10-06. 
  9. ^ "Freedom Rider Jim Zwerg to Speak at TROY's Rosa Parks Museum". 
  10. ^ "LISA, SIMEONE. "Interview: John Lewis And Jim Zwerg Discuss The 40Th Anniversary Of The Freedom Riders". 
  11. ^ "LISA, SIMEONE. "Interview: John Lewis And Jim Zwerg Discuss The 40Th Anniversary Of The Freedom Riders."". 

External links[edit]

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