Nashville Freedom Rider Ernest 'Rip' Patton dies at 81

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Posted at 3:01 PM, Aug 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-25 16:01:07-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)  — Nashville Freedom Rider and civil rights leader Ernest “Rip” Patton has died. He was 81.

The Freedom Rides Museum announced the death on Tuesday. Patton participated in the downtown Nashville civil rights sit-ins in 1960, a movement that eventually led to the desegregation of the city’s lunch counters and other public spaces.

A year later, Patton was among the first wave of Freedom Riders to arrive in Jackson, Mississippi. Patton attended nonviolence workshops led by civil rights champion the Rev. James Lawson.

He later went on to be a truck driver and jazz musician, while also remaining a vocal advocate and educator of the civil rights movement.