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Eugene Levine

Eugene Levine, Freedom Rider

Eugene Levine

  • Born December 26, 1926; New York City

  • Arrested June 19, 1961; train station, Jackson

  • Then English instructor, Oklahoma State University

  • Since then Real-estate developer, Boulder, CO

  • Photographed September 10, 2005; Boulder

Update February 2008: This series is now a book. Breach of Peace: Portraits of the 1961 Mississippi Freedom Riders will be published in May.

See other portraits in the series | Read more about the project | Pre-order now from Amazon.

Eugene Levine, 1961/2005

I drove straight from Stillwater [OK] to the Jackson train station and got arrested. The police saw I was alone — I hate joining groups — and older than the usual Freedom Rider. I told them I was a veteran — in the 101st Airborne in postwar Japan — and they said, we’re going to take you back to your car, and you can go home.

I told them they were stupid and trying to start a race war in Mississippi, and if they let me go, I would go back to the train station.

They let me go and I went back to the train station. The second time they arrested me they put me in jail.

— From an interview with the photographer.

Mug shot courtesy of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

Portrait © 2005 by Eric Etheridge

Posted on July 01, 2006, in Freedom Riders