Leaving from Washington, D.C. in 1961, an integrated group of people calling themselves “Freedom Riders” traveled to the Deep South to put a recent federal ruling declaring it unconstitutional to segregate bus riders to the test. Despite their pledge of nonviolence, they met with physical resistance and sometimes violence as they attempted to occupy segregated buses, restaurants and waiting rooms. Local authorities often refused to intervene, but the Freedom Riders kept their pledge of— and transformed the civil rights movement. Historian Ray Arsenault tells their story.
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