Freedom Riders

Freedom Riders


As the Black Lives Matter movement spreads to the UK, here’s an important document about a pivotal moment in the US civil rights struggle. In 1961 a group of activists took bus journeys from Washington DC across the Deep South, in an attempt to defy and expose segregationist laws. They were met by hostility, violence, arrest and imprisonment.

Terrific first-hand testimony from many of the “riders” mixed with shocking archive footage shows the sickening brutality they faced, while the then governor of Alabama equivocates about his response to the violence. There’s also clear analysis of how, while the campaign helped unite the civil rights movement it also highlighted schisms within it.


The story of more than 400 black and white Americans who risked their lives in 1961 to travel through America's Deep South on buses and trains, defying race segregation laws.