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In 1961, during the first year of John F. Kennedy's presidency, more than 400 Americans participated in a dangerous experiment designed to awaken the conscience of a complacent nation.
The Riders' plan was deceptively simple: traveling together in small interracial groups, they sat where they pleased on buses and trains, terminal restaurants and waiting rooms. They did so knowing that their actions would almost certainly prompt a violent direct action – many endured savage beatings and imprisonment. Invoking the philosophy of nonviolent direct action, they willingly put their bodies on the line for the cause of racial justice.
But issues of race – then, as now – are rarely simple. -- Freedom Riders Study Guide, Facing History and Ourselves.
American Experience: Freedom Riders
This film tells the story of civil rights activists called "Freedom Riders" which took brave actions to dismantle the structures of discrimination through nonviolence.
Videos in eMedia
Utah educators and students can download the following videos from UEN's eMedia.