Blog Post: Inspiration from the 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

Grade Range: 8-12
Resource Type(s): Reference Materials
Date Posted: 7/20/2012

In this post, students will learn about the spring and summer of 1961, when more than 400 Americans became Freedom Riders. They did so knowing full well that the simple act of violating long-held traditions of racial segregation and white supremacy would almost certainly lead to arrest and imprisonment, and might even cost them their lives. Propelled by faith in nonviolence and the hope that the country could be awakened to the promise of democratic renewal and social justice, the Riders endured beatings, bombings, harassment, and imprisonment. In the process, they drew the Kennedy administration into the gathering movement for civil rights and, even more importantly, demonstrated the power of ordinary people to effect great social change. Written by Chris Wilson, Director of the Program in African American Culture, this post is published on the Museum's "O Say Can You See?" blog.