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American Experience; Freedom Riders


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American Experience
Freedom Riders
Program Number


Series Description

Premiered October 1988 As television's longest-running, most-watched history series, American Experience brings to life the incredible characters and epic stories that helped form this nation. Now in its eighteenth season, the series has produced over 180 programs and garnered every major broadcast award. Series release date: 10/1988

Program Description

Originally scheduled as part of American Experience season 23: AMEX 002311, NOLA Code changed prior to broadcast.

In 1961, segregation seemed to have an overwhelming grip on American society. Many states violently enforced the policy, while the federal government, under the Kennedy administration, remained indifferent, preoccupied with matters abroad. That is, until an integrated band of college students -- many of whom were the first in their families to attend a university --decided, en masse, to risk everything and buy a ticket on a Greyhound bus bound for the Deep South. They called themselves the Freedom Riders and they managed to bring the president and the entire American public face to face with the challenge of correcting civil-rights inequities that plagued the nation. Veteran filmmaker Stanley Nelson's documentary is the first feature-length film about this courageous band of civil-rights activists. Gaining access to influential figures on both sides of the issue, Nelson chronicles a chapter of American history that stands as an astonishing testament to the accomplishment of youth and what can result from the incredible combination of personal conviction and the courage to organize against all odds.

A production of Firelight Films for AMERICAN EXPERIENCE.



Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Chicago: “American Experience; Freedom Riders,” 03/25/2011, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed October 26, 2016, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_9683FD8427294038BDC3BDDF24055D5A.
MLA: “American Experience; Freedom Riders.” 03/25/2011. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. October 26, 2016. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_9683FD8427294038BDC3BDDF24055D5A>.
APA: American Experience; Freedom Riders. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_9683FD8427294038BDC3BDDF24055D5A
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