Broadcast Marks 50th Anniversary of Original Freedom Rides.
"Congressman John Lewis, one of the original Riders, who bore the brunt of the first act of violence in the Freedom Rides when he was beaten in Rock Hill, SC."
Columbia, SC… Would you sign your last will and testament before boarding a bus? Some members of the 1961 Freedom Rides did, knowing how close they might come to needing them.
From May until November of that year, 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’ belief in non-violent activism was sorely tested as mob violence and bitter racism greeted them along the way.
On the 50th anniversary of the rides, PBS’ American Experience presents Freedom Riders, a new film featuring testimony from a fascinating cast of central characters: the Riders themselves, state and federal government officials, and journalists who witnessed the rides firsthand. Produced, written and directed by award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson, Freedom Riders premieres on South Carolina ETV on Monday, May 16 at 9 p.m.