The freedom riders

When most of the demonstrators were arrested in North Carolina, the police effectively aborted the Journey of Reconciliation.

The freedom riders

In the U. Supreme Court banned segregation in interstate bus travel. A year later the Congress of Racial Equality CORE and the Fellowship of Reconciliation tested the ruling by staging the Journey of Reconciliation, on which an interracial group of activists rode together on a bus through the upper South, though fearful of journeying to the Deep South.

Activists Test Supreme Court Decision

Virginia decision ofwhich extended the earlier ruling to include bus terminals, restrooms, and other facilities associated with interstate travel, a group of seven African Americans and six whites left Washington, D. Convinced that segregationists in the The freedom riders would violently protest this exercise of their constitutional right, the Freedom Riders hoped to provoke the federal government into enforcing the Boynton decision.

When they stopped along the way, white riders used facilities designated for blacks and vice versa. The Freedom Riders encountered violence in South Carolinabut in Alabama the reaction was much more severe. On May 14, upon stopping outside Anniston to change a slashed tire, one bus was firebombed and the Freedom Riders were beaten.

Arriving in Birminghamthe second bus was similarly attacked and the passengers beaten. In both cases law enforcement was suspiciously late in responding, and there were suspicions of collusion in that late response.

Although the original Riders were unable to find a bus line to carry them farther, a second group of 10, originating in Nashville and partly organized by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee SNCCrenewed the effort.

Undeterred by being arrested in Birmingham and transported back to Tennesseethe new Freedom Riders returned to Birmingham and, at the behest of U.

The freedom riders

Attorney General Robert F. Kennedysecured a bus and protection from the State Highway Patrol as they traveled to Montgomerywhere, when local police failed to protect them, they were again beaten.

On May 29 Kennedy ordered the Interstate Commerce Commission to enforce even stricter guidelines banning segregation in interstate travel. Still, Freedom Riders continued to travel by public transportation in the South until that dictate took effect in September. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:John Lewis, Freedom Rider: We came upon a old house that was fallen, knocked on the door, said, 'We are the Freedom Riders.

Please let us in.' Please let us in.' William Harbour, Freedom Rider: Older gentlemen came to the door. Meet the Freedom Riders. Ralph Abernathy, Montgomery, AL. Credit: Flip Schulke/Corbis. Rev. Ralph Abernathy was a key figure in the Civil Rights Movement of the s and beyond.

Freedom Riders were civil rights activists who rode interstate buses into the segregated southern United States in and subsequent years to challenge the non-enforcement of the United States Supreme Court decisions Morgan v.

Virginia () and Boynton v. Virginia (), which ruled that segregated public buses were unconstitutional. Freedom Riders is a American historical documentary film, produced by Firelight Media for PBS American Experience.

The film is based in part on the book Freedom Riders: and the Struggle for Racial Justice by historian Raymond Arsenault. The Freedom Riders left Washington on May 4, and traveled without incident across Virginia and North Carolina.

The Freedom Rides

They encountered violence for the first time at the bus terminal in Rock Hill, South Carolina when several young white males beat black riders who attempted to use a . The New York Times, which had earlier criticized the Freedom Riders' "incitement and provocation," acknowledged that they "started the chain of events which resulted in the new I.C.C.


Watch Freedom Riders | American Experience | Official Site | PBS