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American Experience: Freedom Riders

American Experience: Freedom Riders

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.

Veteran filmmaker Stanley Nelson’s inspirational documentary is the first feature-length film about this courageous band of civil-rights activists. Gaining impressive access to influential figures on both sides of the issue, Nelson chronicles a chapter of American history that stands as an astonishing testament to the accomplishment of youth and what can result from the incredible combination of personal conviction and the courage to organize against all odds. (Shari Frilot/Sundance Film Festival)

Freedom Riders Screenings
March 17, 2011 - May 11, 2011

Get a preview of the powerful, harrowing and ultimately inspirational documentary about the six months in 1961 that changed America forever before it airs on GPB.

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.

Screening Schedule: (Note the events in Savannah and Kennesaw are free and open to the public.)
Savannah: March 31, 2011 at the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum at 6:30 p.m.

Kennesaw: April 22, 2011 from 1-5 Kennesaw State University, Burrus Building, Conference Room 151 from 1-5 p.m.

The Atlanta event is by invitation only. Students and educators are encouraged to attend. You must RSVP in order to receive an invitation. Contact to receive an invitation.

Atlanta: May 11, 2011 from 10am-3pm at Morehouse.

Watch the full episode. See more American Experience.