photo of Betsy Wyckoff as Freedom Rider


Dublin Core


photo of Betsy Wyckoff as Freedom Rider


Downtown CORE members


This is a 1961 photo of Dr. Elizabeth Wyckoff as a Freedom Rider. Known as Betsy, she was fined $200, sentenced to two months and served time in Parchman prison after being arrested in Jackson, Mississippi and convicted for ‘breach of the peace'.

Her arrest was used as a test case when she argued that the Mississippi authorities were 'using the breach of peace statute unlawfully to enforce segregation.’ * Her case openly
challenged whether the Freedom Riders should be arrested at all. In response, the presiding judge stated Wyckoff ‘was not convicted of a violation of any law with reference to integration or segregation…’. *

Defended by William Kuntsler, her case went all the way to the Supreme Court, but lost.

Originally a member of New York CORE when it was still in midtown, she stayed with the chapter when it moved to 125th street in Harlem and worked in its office. She also walked the picket line during the campaign against Woolworth's.

She transferred over to Downtown CORE when it started up because she was already living in the area. She was also involved in a relationship with fellow member Russel Blackwell.

* The Baltimore Afro-American, June 9, 1962.


Originating Agency: Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission



Mississippi Department of Archives and History




Mississippi, 1961-06-02



Originating Agency: Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission, “photo of Betsy Wyckoff as Freedom Rider,”, accessed May 26, 2024,

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