Earthpeace Monument | Pilgrim Stories - Chris Hartmire
A contemporary Yule marble sculpture symbolizing the dove nestling a bronze globe inscribed with Peace in 50 languages recognizing generations of lives lived in service to promote peace in the US and around the world
earthpeace, peace, earth, symbol, world, non-profit, monument, sculpture, art, artist, sculptor, statue, statuary, USA, los angeles, claremont, california, arkansas, colorado, peace day, peace bronze, peace organization, 501c3, 501 c3, 501-c3, tax deduction, tax deductible, nonprofit, non-profit, non profit
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Chris Hartmire

Making Way for Peace in Freedom

The First Interfaith Interracial Freedom Riders

I was young, a 29 year old, white, idealistic guy, working with CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) to raise the low pay for black students.  One day we were told that one white and one black man would be chosen to ride a bus to the South.  We drew straws and when they told me: “Chris Hartmire, you won! I had no idea what we were getting into as “Freedom Riders”.

Some of the stops weren’t too bad, but when they got off the bus in South Carolina, an angry group yelled curses at them as they went into the restaurant.  The owner met them and before Chris could explain that the constitution gave his black partners the right to eat there, the owner threatened them and the Freedom Rider leaders urged the group to get back to the bus.  That night, disheartened, a plan was made to try one more time at the airport restaurant.  But when they arrived , someone had tipped off the owners and they had put a sign in the window: “Closed for Cleaning.”  Most of the group went on and boarded the plane, but Chris and his partner and seven others stayed.  –and stayed, for the sign never came down.  Hungry and tired, on the third day they looked in amazement at what was walking toward them.  It was the  Klu Klux Klan.  Gratefully, they saw that the police were right behind them.  The Klan was arrested, but so were they!  And they were indicted— for  “disturbing the peace”.  What followed was a series of passing the problem.  First their case went to the Florida Supreme Court, then they sent it to the U.S. Supreme Court but they shot it right back to the Florida Supreme Court.  Their lawyer appealed with habeas corpus and as they stood before the judge, he said. “I don’t want any part of this. Get out and never come back!”

It had been three years.  But Chris was so glad it was over.  Just before he walked out to the runway to board the plane, he heard an amazing newscast:  The president had signed into action a new law.  Integration!

Just before he walked out to the runway to board the plane, he heard an amazing newscast: The president had signed into action a new law. Integration!

After his adventure as a “Freedom Rider”, Chris served as Executive Secretary for California Migrant Ministry, Executive Director of National Farm Workers Ministry, Staff Manager: United Farm Workers Union—La Paz and Keene California; Program Director of Loaves and Fishes for Homeless Women and Men; Executive Secretary of Clean and Sober in the Residential Recovery Program for Homeless Men and Women of Sacramento. Then, before coming to Pilgrim Place, he served for twelve years as the top “right hand man” for Cesar Chavez.

– by Constance Waddell

Chris Hartmire