Oral Histories

Interview of Jean Kidwell Pestana

Civil rights activist and attorney. Participated in the 1961 Freedom Rides.
The Jackson Freedom Ride
African American History
Social Movements
Civil Rights Movement
Biographical Note:
Civil rights activist and attorney. Participated in the 1961 Freedom Rides.
Dixon, Elizabeth I.
Pestana, Jean Kidwell
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Elizabeth I. Dixon, Librarian of the Office of Oral History, UCLA.
Interviewee Retained Copyright
Family background, including father's trade union activities; education at University of California, Berkeley; early work in carpet plant; marriage to Frank Pestana; development of political beliefs; decides with attorney Rose Rosenberg to participate in Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) freedom rides testing equality of access to facilities involved in interstate travel, 1961; CORE orientation sessions in nonviolent resistance techniques; bus ride to Jackson, Mississippi; contact with student nonviolent movement in New Orleans; arrest in Jackson bus station; confined in Jackson city jail; transfer to Parchman Penitentiary; prison conditions; community feeling among imprisoned freedom riders; relationship to prisoners other than freedom riders; response of Jackson's black community to released freedom riders; later return to Mississippi for trial; travel to Mexico and Cuba; social and economic conditions in Cuba.