Last updated 5:00AM ET
March 11, 2014
WFCR Local Features
Focus Western New England: The Freedom Riders, 50 Years Later
Buses have played a prominent role in the Civil Rights movement.It was in 1955 when Rosa Parks - a black woman - refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus to a white woman. In the years that followed, court decisions mandated the desegregation of interstate travel. The law was largely ignored in the South. But in the spring and summer of 1961, young men and women -- black and white -- tested the law's enforcement by riding public buses into Montgomery, Jackson, and other southern points, where they were met by arrests, and mob beatings. They became known as the Freedom Riders. It was a violent time that in some remarkable ways created change. On this edition of Focus Western New England we talk with civil rights scholars and activists from this area including and some of the freedom riders who got on the bus.
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