American Experience | Freedom Riders

Posted by WMHT Web Editor

Freedom Riders Trailer

Watch Tuesday, June 17, 2014 at 9pm on WMHT TV.
Watch Monday, June 23, 2014 at 7pm on WORLD.

In 1961, segregation seemed to have an overwhelming grip on American society. Many states violently enforced the policy, while the federal government, under the Kennedy administration, remained indifferent, preoccupied with matters abroad. That is, until an integrated band of college students — many of whom were the first in their families to attend a university — decided, en masse, to risk everything and buy a ticket on a Greyhound bus bound for the Deep South. They called themselves the Freedom Riders, and they managed to bring the president and the entire American public face-to-face with the challenge of correcting civil-rights inequities that plagued the nation.

Why Be a Freedom Rider?

Why Be a Freedom Rider?

In this video from 1961, two Freedom Riders explain what they're doing.

Before Rosa Parks, There Was Irene Morgan

Before Rosa Parks, There Was Irene Morgan

Irene Morgan fought her 1944 arrest for sitting in the front of an interstate bus.

Travelling in the Segregated South

Travelling in the Segregated South

For African-Americans, travel in the segregated South was insulting at best.

Practicing Non-Violence

Practicing Non-Violence

Civil rights activists rehearsed non-violence, and were prepared to face violence.

Student Freedom Riders Discuss Civil Rights Movement

Student Freedom Riders Discuss Civil Rights Movement

Student Freedom Riders discuss the nonviolent protest movement of 50 years ago.

Down Freedom's Main Line

Down Freedom's Main Line

Two activists reflect on what the Freedom Rides meant for the Civil Rights movement.

The monumental building that was supposed to last forever was destroyed after 53 years.

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