Hank Thomas lives in Stone Mountain, an area of metro Atlanta that is represented by Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04). Thomas is one of three surviving original Freedom Riders. “They were heroes who rode buses and trains in the South to break the back of segregation”, said Johnson. “The riders, including my constituent Hank Thomas and my friend and colleague John Lewis, endured insults and beatings and risked their lives more than 50 years ago because they believed in a different future for their children and their grandchildren.
In recognition of Black History Month, Congressmen Johnson and Doug Collins (GA-09) introduced a bipartisan resolution this week calling on Congress to award the Freedom Riders the Congressional Gold Medal. More than 135 members of Congress from both sides of the aisle joined Reps. Johnson and Collins to cosponsor the bill, H.R. 671. If approved by Congress, the Freedom Riders would receive the medal as a group and it would be displayed at the Smithsonian Museum.