Don’t forget that in 1961, a group of 400 courageous black and white activists called the Freedom Riders challenged the Jim Crow laws of the day by riding buses and trains across the segregated south. Don’t forget that they risked their lives, even though these were peaceful demonstrations. Don’t forget that it was an important precursor to stabilizing black voting rights and the Civil Rights Movement. Don’t forget.
The program includes a preview screening of Freedom Riders, the film by award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson which will debut on PBS stations across the country as part of the “American Experience” series beginning in May. The film is based on the original book by Raymond Arsenault.
“We are very proud to be involved,” says Dr. Brenda Bryant, Dean of Community-Based Learning and co-founder of Marygrove’s Social Justice Program. “This is the kind of information we need to bring to the forefront, to keep it alive.” She adds that whenever history has presented unjust acts—outrageous incidents of discrimination, deprivation or exclusion—we, as a society must learn all we can to fully understand. “Remembering the Freedom Riders 50 years later brings the story back for new generations to learn, older generations to gain strength and for all to heal,” Bryant said.