Charles Perkins



Welcome to the Charles Perkins - Freedom Rides website


Charles N. Perkins, sometimes known Charlie Perkins and known as Kumantjayi Perkins after his death, was an flamboyant figure as well as being an Australian Aboriginal activists, soccer player and administrator. He is noted for being the first ever Aboriginal to graduate from tertiary education, or university, in Australia, and was a controversial, outspoken and vivid activist for Aboriginal rights, and indigenous leader. A critical speaker and thinker, as well as being a leading Aboriginal activist and bureaucrat, his candid nature and passionate stance on Aboriginal rights and treatment earned him many friends and foes.

He was involved in many reformist activites, including the "Freedom Rides" of Australia in 1965, an emulation of the American Freedom Rides in 1961. This raised public awareness of the state of Aboriginal discrimination, which was instrumental in the success of the 1967 referendum, which included the Aborigines in the national census, thus identifying them as Australian citizens in contrast to the "second class" citizens they were considered to be, and entitled Aborigines to the same rights as any other Australian. This was the most successful referendum in Australian history, with 90.77% of the Australian population voting 'yes'. In the post-referendum era, he would go on to become a leading Aboriginal bureaucrat, and would continue to fight actively for Aboriginal equality until his death on 19th October, 2009.

This site will provide information on his background history, past achievements, his activist and activities, i.e. the 1965 "Freedom Rides", and his post-referendum activites

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