Attracting a diverse group of volunteers—black and white, young and old, male and female, secular and religious, northern and southern—the Freedom Rides of 1961 took the civil rights struggle out of the courtroom and onto the streets of the Jim Crow South. Freedom Riders tells the terrifying, moving, and suspenseful story of a time when white and black volunteers riding a bus into the Deep South risked being jailed, beaten, or killed, as white local and state authorities ignored or encouraged violent attacks. The film includes previously unseen amateur 8-mm footage of the burning bus on which some Freedom Riders were temporarily trapped, taken by a local twelve-year-old and held as evidence since 1961 by the FBI.
Join Dr. Craig Werner, a literature professor with the UW-Madison Department of Afro-American Studies, as he shows clips from the film and leads a discussion about some of the issues raised in the film, how the struggle relates to issues we are facing today, and the importance of music in the Civil Rights movement.
This event is part of a four-part series, Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle Film Discussion Series. Funding for the series was provided by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. For more information, visit http://createdequal.neh.gov/