Colonel Floyd Mann was appointed the director of Alabama's Department of Public Safety in 1959. At the time of the Freedom Rides, there was concern in Alabama that the riders would not be safe. Attorney General Robert Kennedy wanted the guarantee of Alabama Governor John Patterson that the riders would be protected. Colonel Mann offered to protect the riders if he was given the proper resources. With the understanding that the state and city police of Alabama would offer assistance, Mann went about protecting the riders. However, he soon learned that the Montgomery city police were going to take the day off when the riders went to Montgomery. Aware of this, he stationed one hundred state troopers outside of the city, ready to assist in case of an emergency. Sure enough, when the riders arrived in Montgomery their bus was attacked. There were no law enforcement officers present except for Mann, and he immediately called for the state troopers. However, before the troopers could get there, several riders were injured severely. Colonel Mann was forced to use his pistol to chase away the attackers and protect the riders. It is likely that if Mann had not been there to protect them, some of the riders including William Barbee, Jim Zwerg, and Bernard Lafayette would have been killed. When the state troopers arrived, the mob dispersed and order was restored.
Information for this biography was gathered from the following sources: