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90-year-old who contributed to Civil Rights Movement tries to save her home

Save Historic Home
Posted at 5:53 PM, Jul 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-13 14:21:16-04

HARFORD COUNTY, Md. — Janice Grant is about to turn 90 and has devoted decades of her life fighting for others in the Civil Rights Movement. Now, she's fighting for herself, to keep an important piece of history in her family that is on the verge of being lost.

"The house, 430, is part of the land we purchased in 1917 and my fore parents purchased that and so my mother and my stepfather built that house in 1960,” said Grant.

Grant is the owner of a house in Aberdeen that hosted Freedom Riders as they were making their trip down south to Mississippi. Freedom Riders were civil rights activists who rode buses into segregated bus terminals to protest.

After arriving in the south, they would advocate for racial equality.

"There are a lot of civil rights things, some that it's really hard for me to talk about some of them,” said Grant.

It was a time when local churches were fearing arson attacks for supporting the freedom riders. That's when the group reached out to Grant's family for a place to stay for the night.

Grant said, "There were 12 Freedom Riders in that house and my mom was fixing sandwiches and what not for them.”

Grant said she left the house with activist Michael Schwerner and met Andrew Goodwin and James Chaney in Mississippi where their goal was to get people to register to vote.

RELATED:Local Freedom Rider remembers their journey for justice

She recalls the bus ride down, “Basically we slept on the bus and would stop wherever we could be accepted. Sometimes we would have to go out in the woods for the restroom because we would not be allowed in some of the places, Virginia included.”

Grant who barely made it out, created a book of memories that she says captures civil rights.

Now the very place that houses historical moments with historical people stands at the brink of foreclosure. Obstacles like her husband's passing and squatters in the house leave her struggling to maintain the home.

A GoFundMe page has been created to give support, so that on July 31 this anchor to the past will not be taken away.