More than 50 years ago, Rip Patton's world changed. He started attending nonviolence workshops in Nashville — learning how to endure abuse without hitting back while sitting at lunch counters, riding buses and protesting segregation. Rip became a Freedom Rider, part of the movement that ended an era of legalized segregation in the South. Now, five decades later, how does he view his role as a "disrupter" — and the society that he helped to disrupt?
Join us for a conversation with Rip, hosted by Emily Siner and the WPLN newsroom. This interview will become an episode of our podcast Movers & Thinkers.
Earnest "Rip" Patton is a lifelong Nashvillian and activist. He joined the Freedom Riders in 1961 as a 21-year-old Tennessee State University student, after participating in the sit-ins that successfully desegregated the lunch counters in downtown Nashville. As a Freedom Rider — riding south from Nashville to protest segregated bus stations, despite violent opposition — he was arrested and sent to the Mississippi State Penitentiary when his Greyhound bus reached Jackson. Rip is now a frequent public speaker, including an appearance on Oprah in 2011.