Fifty years ago, college students from around the country gathered to protest segregation by riding buses and trains from Washington, D.C. to New Orleans, Louisiana. Along the way, they were arrested, jailed and subjected to extreme violence.
Today, 50 students are re-creating those Freedom Rides by traveling the exact same route as the original riders with PBS’ American Experience. Three 2011 Student Freedom Riders shared their perspectives on the journey with NewsHour Extra.
Why this Student Spoke Out
From May until November of 1961, a diverse group of more than 400 young people traveled together on buses and trains through the Deep South. Many were savagely beaten and jailed as they choose to respond to the bitter racism and mob violence with non-violent activism.
Michellay, JoyEllen and Raj are college students who re-enacted the Freedom Rides of 50 years ago on a bus journey from Washington, D.C. to New Orleans.