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American Experience; Freedom Riders; Interview with Nicholas Katzenbach, 2 of 3

Part of Freedom Riders Interviews.


Nicholas Katzenbach served as Deputy Attorney General from 1962 to 1965, under Attorney General Robert Kennedy. He served as Attorney General from 1965 to 1966 under President Johnson. Katzenbach assisted in drafting civil rights legislation and played an important role in fighting segregation in the South.

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American Experience
Freedom Riders
Program Number



Interview with Nicholas Katzenbach, 2 of 3

Series Description

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.

Program Description

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.



Asset Type

Raw video

Media Type


Nelson, Stanley (Producer)
Katzenbach, Nicholas (Interviewee)
Publication Information
WGBH Educational Foundation
Rights Summary

Rights Holder: WGBH Educational Foundation

Chicago: “American Experience; Freedom Riders; Interview with Nicholas Katzenbach, 2 of 3,” 2010, GBH Archives, accessed November 29, 2022,
MLA: “American Experience; Freedom Riders; Interview with Nicholas Katzenbach, 2 of 3.” 2010. GBH Archives. Web. November 29, 2022. <>.
APA: American Experience; Freedom Riders; Interview with Nicholas Katzenbach, 2 of 3. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
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