When Charles David Myers was a senior in high school in Indiana, he applied to several colleges, and although he was accepted to most of them, he didn’t get the scholarship he was hoping to receive. Myers ended up moving to Ohio to attend Central State University, a historically black university, where he was promised a job on the campus that would help him finance his degree. While at school, he witnessed firsthand how his friends, fellow students and even professors were treated because of their race. When the Freedom Rides started in 1961, Myers knew it was time for him to make a statement and do his part in the fight for equal rights. During his involvement in the civil rights movement, he met Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph Abernathy on several occasions and spent a month in jail for standing up for his beliefs. Myers, now a resident of Mustang Creek Estates of Frisco, says attending Central State University was one of his best life decisions.
“Seeing my friends and teachers getting judged and being told where they can and cannot go based on the color of their skin always made me feel really bad, and when the Freedom Rides started, I thought this will be a great chance for me to make a statement,” said Myers. “In 1961, me and a few other students from my college flew from Dayton, Ohio to Alabama and met up with 16 students from Tennessee State University to ride a bus to Jackson, Mississippi. We went to a bus station waiting room designated for white people only and were asked to leave immediately. Because we didn’t leave, I ended up in jail for about 30 days.”
Freedom Riders were groups of white and African-American activists who participated in bus rides through the segregated South in 1961. Myers’ decision to join the Freedom Riders and participate in other protests was highly influenced by witnessing the current events happening around the country. Today, he considers this to be one of the best choices he made in his life along with marrying his wife, who he met during his time at Central State University. His wife, who participated in a lot of protests herself, was arrested about a week after he was on June 9, 1961, and wasn’t released until Christmas Day. They got married the following April and were married for 56 years. They spent a significant portion of their life fighting for equal rights. After they had children, they helped with school desegregation in three different cities. Myers, 79, has three children and three grandchildren. His family is proud of him and his wife for their involvement in the civil rights movement.
“David’s story is truly inspiring, and we love listening to him share his experiences as one of the Freedom Riders,” said Rick Lee, director of operations at Mustang Creek Estates. “Each of our residents has a unique story and background, and we are honored to learn more about them every day.”