Freedom Riders

Freedom Riders

2011, Society  -   13 Comments
Ratings: 8.25/10 from 36 users.

Freedom Riders is the powerful harrowing and ultimately inspirational story of six months in 1961 that changed America forever.

From May until November 1961, more than 400 black and white Americans risked their lives - and many endured savage beatings and imprisonment - for simply traveling together on buses and trains as they journeyed through the Deep South.

Deliberately violating Jim Crow laws, the Freedom Riders met with bitter racism and mob violence along the way, sorely testing their belief in nonviolent activism.

Freedom Riders features testimony from a fascinating cast of central characters: the Riders themselves, state and federal government officials, and journalists who witnessed the Rides firsthand. The two-hour documentary is based on Raymond Arsenault's book Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice.

Organized by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the self-proclaimed "Freedom Riders" came from all strata of American society - black and white, young and old, male and female, Northern and Southern.

They embarked on the Rides knowing the danger but firmly committed to the ideals of non-violent protest, aware that their actions could provoke a savage response but willing to put their lives on the line for the cause of justice.

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13 Comments / User Reviews

  1. David Dieini

    Oscar Wilde would label these people as brave idiots, and he would be right. Racism is one of a number of social constructs perpetuated by the system to breed division and fear as a means of control. Religion is another as Muslims for example were denigrated as sub-human terrorists, so as to make slaughtering them in the upcoming war more acceptable. That is the origin of many pejoratives, such as towel head, gook, Keffer etc

    The point is racism can only be eradicated by eradicating the system that perpetuates it

  2. 7skuareoff

    Ya know, I was watching the Freedom Riders over on
    the yankee Propaganda and Bull Sh*t network, and I
    got to thinkin': what really was the difference between
    the Jews and other Yankees come down to deliver
    Yankee justice upon the good ol' boys in Alabammy
    and Mississip, and those Russian insurgents preparing
    the ground work for the Russian invasion of Ukraine?
    I mean, there weren't any ward bosses holding down
    the black vote in Boston and Chicago and New Yawk
    that the so called Freedom Riders could have
    addressed in their own back yards? As of 2012? The
    Supremes still hadn't addressed the over half a century
    old desegregation case against the Boston public schools.

    Sure blacks got hung in the South, they got hung in the
    North, too,. Arrested after trumped up charges, taken
    before a usually all white Yankee jury with no legal
    representation, a summary trial, and zip, stretch,
    buried and forgotten, No rights to be read, no right to a
    lawyer, no yankee Propaganda BS Network to record
    their passing and replay it on an endless loop on
    Yankee tv. And if blacks rioted over it, they got at least
    what they got in Alabammy and Mississip.

    So what was the fifties civil rights Southern purge
    Really about? It was about a South threatening economic
    and political independence from Yankee Wall Street and
    Jewish bankers, with oil, in the 1950s, just like they had
    with cotton, in the 1850s, The Yankees sent insurgents
    South, then, to rabble rouse, remember John Brown?,
    and prepare the ground work for the invasion of Yankee
    troops in the 1850s, just like they did, in the 1950s.
    Just like the Russians in Ukraine, today.

    For my money, you Yankees ain't no different from the
    Russians or the Nazis, for that matter. You are All about
    taking control, seizing territory, and burning down anything
    you can't steal.

  3. Vinnie Chavez

    Yes it is sad but it makes me happy to why? because it saying as a people we are getting better but we have along way to go??

  4. pwndecaf

    What a beautiful, sad story. I'm surprised this was made in 2011. I didn't think the "New PBS by Koch Industries" would put such a story on the air. I'm glad I was wrong about that.

    I don't know that they did or didn't sponsor The American Experience, but I think PBS has lost some of its luster over the last few years.

    This is a heroic tale about some very brave people. Well done, PBS!

  5. Aranyani

    So we agree all bigotry is wrong. How are Muslims being treated? Or is that too much of a reach for our civilized non-barbaric society..

    1. Jack1952

      While I do not agree with a lot of Western policies in the Middle East, Muslim countries are guilty of bigotry and violence, also. It is against the law in Saudi Arabia to build a church or preach the gospel. Sunni and Shia have been fighting each other for centuries. It is only Muslim countries who have laws against apostasy and blasphemy. Gays are openly executed in Iran. Muslim leaders, repeatedly, cry out for the death of America, Israel, Denmark (cartoons?) and any other country who may have inhabitants that they feel offend them. They may insist their hatred is justified but perceived justification for hatred is no more acceptable than hatred fuelled by bigotry and worse, it goes against the very idea of a religion of peace. A religion of peace should discourage hatred, not incite death and destruction.

  6. Aranyani

    Can we agree now that bigotry against any group or any race is wrong? Muslims, Latinos, homeless, LGBT. How sad that Freedom Rider U.S. Rep John Lewis has to witness the backslide to Jim Crow because of the recent Supreme Court ruling. The work is never done. Ours is still a barbaric and uncivilized society that drone kills and bombs with radioactive weaponry (depleted uranium) innocent people in the Miid East.. It is barbaric that we lock up prisoners in solitary confinement for years. We have a very long way to go to form a just society.

    1. Lynley Ruth Butt

      For Christians , Jews, other groups to leave off bigotry towards Moslems would take enormous concessionary back tracking. They would need to concede or believe that The criteria and the way established in The Quran measures up to their own standards and on par ... A state of parity, mutual coming to terms with agreement.... with their own faith.
      This is not so at present... But even so the primary expression " there are no gods but God...
      (Ie the god we believe in is all that exists for us.)
      And, atheists are half way there... Adhering to the first part of this declaration of faith... " there are no gods" especially the merciful gracious one we should have liked to have,

  7. John Murgaš

    Toxic Society

  8. bringmeredwine

    I have seen this before and it is well worth watching.
    Shocking scenes and first hand accounts of man's inhumanity to man.
    Hard to accept this occurred only 52 years ago.

    1. Jack1952

      It's still a factor in this world. Try and hold a Baptist revival meeting in Saudi Arabia. That should be a hoot. Apartheid held on in South Africa till just recently. Things are changing, but it is a slow process.

      It is a powerful film. A look at humanity at it's best and it's worst.

    2. bringmeredwine

      Imagine being a woman in Saudi Arabia; trying to get a driver's licence or leave the country without a male's permission!
      Its a crazy world!

    3. DigiWongaDude

      Thanks for recommending...straight after this I watched "The Central Park Five". We still have a loooong way to go.