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Exclusive "Freedom Riders" Preview for PBS Facebook Fans on May 2, 2011
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Acclaimed Documentary Premieres May 16 on PBS’ AMERICAN EXPERIENCE 50 years after Original Freedom Rides

Arlington, VA – April 28, 2011 – PBS announced today that a 35-minute excerpt of Stanley Nelson’s acclaimed documentary, Freedom Riders, will debut on Monday, May 2, exclusively to fans who “like” PBS on Facebook. The preview, available two weeks before the film’s May 16 premiere on AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, will be introduced by Executive Producer Mark Samels and will be available until the broadcast premiere.

“We want to give loyal fans exclusive access to PBS content and will continue to offer opportunities for advance screenings on Facebook, the PBS video apps for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, as well as other platforms where fans can engage around projects like Freedom Riders,” said Jason Seiken, SVP, PBS Interactive, Product Development and Innovation.

Freedom Riders is the powerful, harrowing and ultimately inspirational story of eight months in 1961 that changed America forever. From May until December 1961, more than 400 black and white Americans risked their lives – many endured savage beatings and imprisonment – for simply traveling together on buses as they journeyed through the Deep South. Determined to challenge segregated travel facilities, the Freedom Riders were greeted with mob violence and bitter racism, sorely testing their belief in nonviolent activism.

Based on Raymond Arsenault’s acclaimed book, Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice, and directed by award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson (The Murder of Emmett Till, Jonestown, Wounded Knee), Freedom Riders features testimony from an rich cast of central characters: the Riders themselves, state and federal government officials, and journalists who witnessed the Rides firsthand.

As part of a unique national outreach campaign, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE has invited college students to “get on the bus.” On May 6, forty college students will embark on the 2011 STUDENT FREEDOM RIDE, a journey retracing the route of the original 1961 Freedom Rides. Kicking off in Washington, D.C., the students will journey into the Deep South, stopping along the way at historically critical locations, and spending time with surviving Freedom Riders, who will share their memories of this dangerous experiment in the fight for equal rights.

For additional information on the film, the Student Bus Ride and more, visit


Television's most-watched history series, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE has been hailed as "peerless" (Wall Street Journal), "the most consistently enriching program on television" (Chicago Tribune), and "a beacon of intelligence and purpose" (Houston Chronicle). On air and online, the series brings to life the incredible characters and epic stories that have shaped America's past and present. Acclaimed by viewers and critics alike, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE documentaries have been honored with every major broadcast award, including twenty-four Emmy Awards, four duPont-Columbia Awards, and fifteen George Foster Peabody Awards, one most recently for "My Lai.”

About PBS

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Jake Landis PBS 703-739-5362

Cara White CaraMar, Inc. 843-881-1480 843-224-1442 – cell