Oral Histories

Interview of Jean Kidwell Pestana

Civil rights activist and attorney. Participated in the 1961 Freedom Rides.
The Jackson Freedom Ride
Interviews not in a series, part one
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.