Fifty years ago, a group of college students bought bus tickets for a journey into the deep south. The journey of this group of brave people who came from different racial backgrounds would be fraught with violence as they pressed their way into the fiercely segregated regions of the United States. But, these Freedom Riders sought a larger outcome than their individual circumstances or hardships. Their goal was to awaken the country — all the way up to the President — to the social injustice that was faced everyday by people across the south just because of the color of their skin.
Filmmaker Stanley Nelson tells the story of the Freedom Riders in this powerful documentary, which is filled with emotional first-person accounts and archival film footage.
American Experience producer Mark Samels talked about the making of Freedom Riders and the award-winning work of the documentary film series that he helms in an exclusive WPT interview below.