Series Blog

Freedom Riders on Oprah

On May 16, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE will premiere Freedom Riders, a film about the 436 Americans who risked their lives by deliberately violating Jim Crow laws in the Deep South in the summer of 1961.

This Wednesday, May 4, Oprah Winfrey will dedicate her entire program to the 50th anniversary of the 1961 Freedom Rides. The Oprah episode will highlight clips from the film as well as selections of content from the AMERICAN EXPERIENCE Freedom Riders website.

Some of the features of the Freedom Riders website include:

Interactive Map - Retrace the rides from Washington DC on May 4 to 24, 1961 with this flash interactive. Click on the city names and the bus routes to find out what occurred during that leg of the journey. An additional map illustrates the routes that continued nationwide through the end of 1961.

Watch - Browse videos, including the film's trailer and twelve dramatic short films focusing on issues covered briefly in the film. After Freedom Riders' broadcast premiere on May 16, the complete film will stream online.

2011 Student Freedom Ride Blog - Follow 40 college students on their journey retracing the original 1961 freedom rides from May 6-16, 2011. The Student Ride will retrace the route of the original Rides and will launch a national conversation about the role of civil engagement in today's democracy. The blog page will be updated daily throughout the ride with student essays and video entries.

Other features on the site include biographies of key participants of the 1961 freedom rides, a complete roster of all original freedom riders, over 40 clips with interviews from original riders, exclusive short films and articles about the issues of the day, an interactive timeline, resources for the classroom, and an opportunity to share your own story.

After checking out all these amazing features, be sure to tune in for the broadcast premiere of Freedom Riders on May 16 at 9/8 central.


Tory Starr is a Production Assistant for American Experience. 


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