PBS’s “AMERICAN EXPERIENCE,” one of America’s most-watched history series, has launched the 2011 Student Freedom Ride, a journey retracing the historic civil rights bus rides that changed America. Accompanied by original Freedom Riders, 40 college students will be chosen to participate in the bus ride which will take place from May 6 – 16, 2011, in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the original rides.
A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for college students committed to learning from history and applying those lessons today, the ride is also a catalyst for a national conversation about the role of civic engagement today. The 2011 Student Freedom Ride is the centerpiece of a major outreach campaign leading up to the May 2011 PBS broadcast of Stanley Nelson’s acclaimed film “FREEDOM RIDERS,” the powerful and inspirational story of the more than 400 Black and White men and women who, using non-violent tactics, risked their lives to challenge segregated facilities in the South in 1961.
Kicking off in Washington, D.C., with a major public event that will gather many who were involved in the original Rides, the 2011 Student Freedom Ride will roll through Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi, stopping along the way at historically significant locations. The students will spend time with original Freedom Riders who will share their memories of this bold and dangerous experiment in the fight for equal rights.
“We hope that the film and the ride will inspire young people to see that the past was made up of courageous, ordinary people who were able to make great changes,” said Nelson. “One of the things that the film shows is that success was not inevitable and only came from perseverance. And sometimes to do any great thing, it’s important that we step out alone.”
The application deadline for the all-expenses-paid trip is Jan. 17. For more information and to apply, visit www.pbs.org.