Alagasco President and Chief Operating Officer Dudley Reynolds returned to his hometown of Anniston, Ala., today to unveil a commemorative gaslight recognizing the Freedom Riders and the city for their role in Civil Rights history.
Two Freedom Riders – Charles Person and Dr. Bill Harbour — attended the event, recalling for the crowd that day in 1961 when they boarded buses on a mission to test enforcement of federal rules banning segregation on interstate bus travel. But one of the buses was burned in Anniston and the riders were attacked.
The gaslight is mounted on the Freedom Riders mural in Anniston, across the street from the Greyhound bus station. It’s part of Alagasco’s “Lighting the Way” campaign, which recognizes pivotal events in Alabama’s history.
The gaslight “symbolizes our efforts to learn from history and determination to move forward,” said Reynolds, who thanked Mr. Person and Dr. Harbour for their bravery.
Anniston Mayor Vaughn Stewart presented the men with keys to the city, and area high school students posed for photos with Mr. Person and Dr. Harbour in front of the mural.
Students from Cobb Elementary School kicked off the event, singing “What a Wonderful World.”
Alagasco has already unveiled gaslights in Birmingham, Tuscaloosa and Montgomery. Alagasco’s employees were asked to vote for locations of significant historical events to receive the commemorative gaslights. The final gaslight dedication is set for Sept. 19 in Selma.