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Monday, February 1, 2010

  • The Freedom Riders: New Documentary Recounts Historic 1961 Effort to Challenge Segregated Bus System in the Deep South

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    The International Civil Rights Center and Museum opens today in Greensboro, North Carolina at the site of the historic 1960 Woolworth’s sit-in. To mark the start of Black History Month, we turn to the story of another group of young people who were inspired by the success of the nonviolent strategy of the Greensboro sit-in. Starting in May of 1961, mixed groups of black and white students began taking interstate buses into the Deep South, risking their lives to challenge segregation. They called themselves the Freedom Riders. White mobs responded with violence. One bus was set on fire with the Freedom Riders. Numerous Freedom Riders were brutally beaten and hospitalized. We speak to Stanley Nelson, the director of the new documentary The Freedom Riders that premiered at Sundance last week. We also speak to two of the original Freedom Riders, Bernard Lafayette and Jim Zwerg. [includes rush transcript]