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Freedom Riders, 50 years later

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Rides, a civil rights protest that challenged Jim Crow segregation in the South.

Organized by CORE, the Congress of Racial Equality, groups of white and blacks would ride buses together into the Deep South, where they integrated not only the coaches, but also the bus stations and lunch counters. Their nonviolent demonstrations to end segregation laws took great courage. On May 14, 1961, a group of Freedom Riders were mobbed by about 200 people in Aniston, Alabama, and their bus was firebombed. That event is captured as part of a PBS documentary by Stanley Nelson called “Freedom Riders,” which will air on May 16. Countless other Freedom Riders were jailed and beaten as President Kennedy and Attorney General Robert Kennedy were slow to intervene.

Francis and Laura Randall, a husband and wife who were part of these historic rides, join Alison Stewart to talk about why they joined the protests, the difficulties involved and which lessons from the Freedom Rides can be applied today.

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