From May until December 1961, more than 400 black and white Americans risked their lives—many endured savage beatings and imprisonment—for simply traveling together on buses as they journeyed through the Deep South.


The Movement

See how the Freedom Riders represented a cross-section of America.

2011 Freedom Ride

See how the “2011 Student Freedom Ride” will retrace the 1961 bus tour.

The Pioneers

See how the efforts of 16 men in 1947 blazed a trail for the Freedom Riders.
Follow along with WGBH's Phillip Martin as he retraces the Freedom Rider's steps with 40 incredible college students. Read more >

The Bus Blog

Local-area college students are among 40 college students retracing the 1961 freedom rides.

Peter Davis
Harvard University
Major: Government
Home Town: Falls Church, VA
About: Pete is the co-founder of CommonPlace, a web and community organizing start-up that aims to revitalize American civic life. >More

Tariq Meyers
Ithaca Universtiy
Major: Politics
Home Town: Dorchester, Ma
About: Driven and determined, Tariq’s passion for justice and outreach has motivated him to provide a voice to the voiceless. >More

Zilong Wang
Hampshire College
Major: History/Philosophy
Home Town: Baotou, China
About: Zilong has moved from China to Germany to Amherst, Ma. He reads Kant by day and plays bamboo flute by night. >More 

Meet The Rest Of The Riders
Could You Get On The Bus? The Call for Civil Engagement — then and now.
Fri, May 20 6:30-9:30pm
Filmmaker Stanley Nelson joins the Basic Black panel to discuss his film. Watch LIVE from our atrium and network with professionals of color and local filmmakers.
RSVP Now >
Watch this page for extended interviews and profiles with three Boston-area residents who joined the original Freedom Ride.

Ellen Ziskind, Brookline

Ziskind joined the Freedom Ride near its end in July 1961. She says she didn't do anything special, but hers is a story about how many small footsteps create up history. Read more >

Paul Brienes, the South End

A former historian at Boston College, Breines joined the Freedom Ride in July 1961. He offers his perspective on the legacies of the ride, big and small. Read more >
WGBH presents curriculum materials for educators and teachers nationwide.

American Experience has partnered with Facing History and Ourselves to create this study for educators.
Learn more > 

American Experience and Teacher's Domain provide digital resources for middle and high school students and teachers. Learn more >

Support for WGBH is provided by:
Become a WGBH sponsor