May 17, 2011
In 1961, seven blacks and six whites left Washington, D.C. on two buses headed for the Deep South, intending to challenge segregation in interstate bus stations. The first Freedom Ride left Washington, D.C. on May 4th, 1961. The initial rides were sponsored by the Congress of Racial Equality, and were inspired, in part, by the 1947 Journey of Reconciliation and the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955.
The ensuing chaos and violence sent shockwaves through American Society, and the Freedom Riders made an important and lasting contribution to the Civil Rights movement.
Karl Graham, Director of Community Relations and Development at the Alternatives Federal Credit Union, Ithaca
Professor Robert L. Harris, Jr, Director of the Africana Studies and Research Center at Cornell University
Professor Anne C. Bailey, social historian in the departments of History and Africana Studies at Binghamton University