"Go Greyhound, and leave the driving to us."
From its humble beginnings in northern Minnesota, Greyhound has grown into the largest intra-city carrier of passengers on America's highways.
In 1914, Carl Eric Wickman, a Swedish immigrant, began transporting miners from Hibbing, Minnesota, to Alice, Minnesota, for 25 cents round trip. In 1926 Wickman joined forces with Ralph Bogan and began running a transit service from Hibbing to Duluth under the company name of Mesaba Transportation. In 1926, Wickman and Orville Caesar brought together their companies to form the Motor Transit Company, which four years later was renamed the Greyhound Corporation.
Greyhound had significant impacts on the American way of life by opening its own chain of restaurants, developing new buses, and launching national advertising campaigns. Greyhound became the official transportation carrier of the world's fair in Chicago in 1933 and was the major carrier of troops heading to the east and west coasts during World War II.
One of the most significant impacts of Greyhound came during the civil rights movement of the 1960s. In 1961, America was in the midst of a struggle to end segregation throughout the south. A group of civil-rights activists known as "Freedom Riders" began a journey that was to take them from Washington, D.C., to New Orleans. Riding on Greyhound buses, the people on board were integrated among the seats, breaking from southern tradition that black Americans sit towards the rear and not among the white Americans. The buses that Greyhound sent were fire-bombed and the passengers were beaten and arrested. U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy pressured Greyhound to continue to carry the Freedom Riders. Although the Freedom Riders never reached their destination in New Orleans due to arrest, the contribution they made to the desegregation movement helped pass a federal law that outlawed segregation in interstate bus travel.
Today, Greyhound has expanded to include travel to Mexico. This little company that started in Hibbing, Minnesota, transporting miners, has led to changes in America's landscape.
~Chris Lepper, Somerset, WI