Mt. Thomas Armstrong, Freedom Rider
Born in Silver Creek, Mississippi, Thomas Armstrong was 14 in 1955—the same year another African-American 14-year-old, Emmett Till, was kidnapped, tortured, and killed in Mississippi for whistling at a white woman. Three years later, as a student at Tougaloo College, Armstrong got involved in civil rights work. He organized black Mississippians to register to vote, despite threats on his life. And in 1961 he and three other Tougaloo students took part in the Freedom Rides, a campaign to integrate interstate buses. Though they were arrested in a whites-only waiting room before they could even board their Trailways bus to New Orleans, the so-called Tougaloo Four inspired dozens of others to make the dangerous trips.