Freedom Rider Barbara Collins Bowie to participate in Black History Month celebration

VIA Metropolitan Transit and St. Philip’s College honored civil rights icon Rosa Parks on what would have been her 106th birthday and highlighted the role of transit in the American Civil Rights Movement at a celebration on February 4, 2019. The event was part of VIA’s Black History Month observance that began with the Martin Luther King Jr. March on January 21, and continues throughout February with special bus decals commemorating Rosa Parks’ contributions to the movement and the struggle for equality.

During the celebration, Barbara Collins Bowie shared her experience in the Freedom Rides of the 1960s and accepted a contribution from VIA to the Dr. J.R. Bowie Scholarship Foundation.

Guests were invited to tour VIA’s 1966 GM Dreamliner bus that features interior panels about Rosa Parks, the Freedom Rides, and public transportation and the civil rights movement. The vintage bus operated by VIA carried a group of Freedom Riders, including Ms. Bowie, in the 2018 MLK, Jr. March. The bus will be on display on the St. Philip’s College campus, outside the E.L. Turbon Student Center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday-Wednesday, Feb. 4-6, 2019. The mobile exhibit is free and open to the public.

The vintage 1966 Dreamliner will become a rolling exhibit, displaying historical information about the Civil Rights Movement and Rosa Parks, who has a seat dedicated to her memory on each of VIA’s 510 operating buses, and the Dreamliner. The Rosa Parks Seat program began in 2005.

Pictured at top: (L-R) VIA Board Vice Chair Bob Comeaux, VIA Senior Vice President Legal/General Counsel Bonnie Prosser Elder, Barbara Collins Bowie, St. Philip’s College President Dr. Adena Williams Loston, and VIA Deputy CEO Keith Hom, unveiling VIA’s 1966 Dreamliner during a ceremony on the campus of St. Philip’s College. Pictured above: VIA’s 1966 Dreamliner Bus on display at St. Philip’s College Feb. 4-6, to commemorate Rosa Park’s 106th birthday.