Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Thomas M. Armstrong  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult; Young Adult; Children;

Born: 1941 in Silver Creek, MS

-- Website --
-- Thomas M. Armstrong on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Armstrong has resided in Chicago since 1964.

Biographical and Professional Information

Thomas M. Armstrong is a veteran of the early 1960s civil rights movement in his native Mississippi. He was at the forefront of early protests led by black Southerners for voting rights and equal public accommodations from 1958-1961, resulting in threats that had him running for his life. Mr. Armstrong moved to Chicago where he has resided since 1964. He remains closely allied with other former Freedom Riders and civil rights workers around the country and often speaks at schools and civic organizations such as the African American Leadership Roundtable in Chicago. He has been the subject of scholarly research by respected academics, sought after for major media interviews, and featured in print from critically acclaimed books to a Forbes magazine publication. The documentary Freedom Riders was broadcast nationally on PBS in May 2011. The movie received rave reviews and Mr. Armstrong was a featured panelist at events where he promoted his memoir ''Autobiography of a Freedom Rider''.Armstrong, worked for the United States Postal Service as a Transportation Contract Specialist. He retired after 38 years of service.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Autobiography of a Freedom Rider: My Life as a Foot Soldier for Civil Rights
ISBN: 0757316034

HCI. 2011

In the Segregated Deep South, When Lynching and Klansmen and Jim Crow laws ruled, there stood a line of foot soldiers ready to sacrifice their lives for the right to vote, to enter rooms marked 'White Only,' and to live with simple dignity. They were called Freedom Riders, and Thomas M. Armstrong was one of them. This is his story.

Autobiography of a Freedom Rider details Armstrong's burning need to create social change for his fellow black citizens. This richly woven memoir, which traces back to his great-grandparents as freed slaves, examines the history of the Civil Rights Movement, the devastating personal repercussions Armstrong endured for being a champion of those rights, the sweet taste of progressive advancement in the past fifty years, and a look ahead at the work still to be done.

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

Armstrong's participated in forums and preformed as a featured speaker for the Illinois Humanities Council throughout the state of Illinois as well as other states. He's performed civil rights presentations at high schools, colleges, universities, and for organizations and business firms. He is available for speaking engagements throughout most of the United States. Fees range from three hundred dollars to ten thousand dollars, based on cliental, travel distance, and length of presentation. He's available to speak to most organizations of civic concerns.