Wednesday, April 27, 2011

50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

On May 4, 1961, thirteen Freedom Riders left Washington, DC on two buses with the intent of challenging segregation in bus stations and other travel facilities across the South, a campaign that ultimately resulted in a federal ruling to enforce desegregation of interstate travel. The action marked a turning point in the tactics of the Civil Rights Movement and was a foundational event in the lives of many activists.

Joan C. Browning, co-author of DEEP IN OUR HEARTS: NINE WHITE WOMEN IN THE FREEDOM MOVEMENT, along with many other surviving Freedom Riders, will be gathering in Chicago tomorrow for a reunion conference and a taping of the Oprah Winfrey Show devoted to the Freedom Rides and scheduled to air on May 4, the anniversary date.

The film Freedom Riders, a production of American Experience, will premier on PBS on May 16; the show is sponsoring a 2011 reenactment Freedom Ride with students. (A UGA sophomore, JoyEllen Freeman, has been selected to join this ride.) Many other commemorations and events are scheduled nationwide.