Freedom Rides — 51 years later
By Dante on May 3rd, 2012
Tomorrow marks the 51st anniversary of one of the nation’s landmark civil rights events: the Freedom Rides. The story of the Freedom Riders is one of strength, conviction, and courage in the face of terrible violence and bigotry.
Last year, for the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Rides, Scholastic News Kid Reporter Henry Dunkelberger interviewed Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) about the Freedom Rides and what impact it had on the nation. Lewis was one of the Freedom Riders, and his experience set him on the path of a lifelong crusade for equality and civil rights.
The Freedom Rides story is one of the most important in America’s history, and as we get further and further away from the 1960s and the “civil rights era” it’s increasingly important to remember the courageous men and women who put themselves in harm’s way to make sure every American had equal rights. Let John Lewis’ story and memories be the beginning of this year’s remembrance. (You should also check out the film Freedom Riders, part of PBS’ American Experience series and available to watch online. It’s an excellent documentary about the Freedom Rides, as well as an a remarkable work of oral history. Viewer discretion is advised, however, because of the rough language and violence recounted and depicted.)
Let us know in the comments section what the Freedom Rides means to you and how you share that event with those around you.
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