The American Experience: Season 23, Episode 12

Freedom Riders (16 May 2011)

TV Episode  -   -  Documentary | History
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From PBS and American Experience - This inspirational documentary is about a band of courageous civil-rights activists calling themselves the Freedom Riders.

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From PBS and American Experience - This inspirational documentary is about a band of courageous civil-rights activists calling themselves the Freedom Riders.

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16 May 2011 (USA)  »

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I'm On My Way
Performed by Barbara Dane
With Kenny Whitson, piano; Wellman Braud, bass; Billy Strange, guitar; Earl Palmer,
drums; Rocco Wilson, conga; Andrews Gospel Sisters
Courtesy of Dreadnaught Music
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Very inspiring, but it's very hard to imagine this was all happening in America!
22 April 2012 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

It's hard to imagine 50 years later that any of this occurred in America. After all, today we take integration and basic human rights for granted. But, inexplicably, back in the 'good old days', the nation was very sick. On one hand, we were a beacon of democracy and freedom. Yet, on the other, these rights only really applied to the white majority. This film is about part of the civil rights movement--part that is too seldom talked about today. Although most Americans know about Rosa Parks and her refusal to sit in the BLACKS ONLY section of a bus, many would not know that a group of blacks and whites took this one step further--to fill buses with integrated passengers who are pushing the limits of Southern cities. Will these cities allow these mixed passenger buses in their towns--even though legally, these folks could go where ever they liked? Overall, this is a very sad yet incredibly informative episode of "The American Experience". It's exceptionally well made and is filled with interviews of the freedom riders today as well as film of the time. There are a few surprises--such as how the film rightly points out how Robert and John Kennedy were, for a while, against these civil rights protests. Another is how, for a time, a few within the riders felt a bit disenchanted with Martin Luther King and why. Exceptional--and a great show to watch with your kids.


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