50th Anniversary of Freedom Riders

FREEDOM RIDERS – The story behind a courageous band of civil rights activists called Freedom Riders who in 1961 challenged segregation in the American South.
Watch the film on PBS, Monday, May 16 at 8:00pm  (Other showings May 17@ 3:00am; May 18 @2:00am; May 22 @ 4:00pm)

FREEDOM RIDERS is the powerful harrowing and ultimately inspirational story of six months in 1961 that changed America forever. From May until November 1961, more than 400 black and white Americans risked their lives—and many endured savage beatings and imprisonment—for simply traveling together on buses and trains as they journeyed through the Deep South. Deliberately violating Jim Crow laws, the Freedom Riders met with bitter racism and mob violence along the way, sorely testing their belief in nonviolent activism.

From award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson FREEDOM RIDERS features testimony from a fascinating cast of central characters: the Riders themselves, state and federal government officials, and journalists who witnessed the Rides firsthand. The two-hour documentary is based on Raymond Arsenault’s book Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice.

American Experience has Invited College Students from across the country to “Get on the Bus”.  From May 6-16, 40 college students will join original Freedom Riders in retracing the 1961 Rides from Washington, DC to New Orleans, LA.  Accepted students will participate at no cost to them. All transportation, hotel and food expenses are covered by American Experience.

SHARE the journey. Through live blogging, Twitter, and Facebook, the students on the bus will be able to share their experiences and, in a sense, bring others along on their journey.

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