At a Glance


Meet the American men and women who traveled the South in the name of black/white equality.

American Experience, PBS

Freedom Riders

This website serves as an accompaniment to and location to showcase the PBS American Experience documentary Freedom Riders, which originally aired in May 2011. The Freedom Riders were young white and African American individuals who rode busses and trains in the South during 1961 as a form of peaceful protest against the Jim Crow laws. At the time, they met with threats, violence, and incarceration.

Follow along with an interactive timeline and an interactive map. Each leg of the journey is summarized with a couple of sentences of text, and cities where major events took place can be selected for a quick overview. You can also read brief biographies of key figures—riders, politicians, movement leaders, and more—or information on the issues of the day from Jim Crow laws to Vietnam War protests.

View short film clips or the entire documentary here. The full documentary transcript is also available for download. The Teachers' Domain, although it sounds appealing, contains only the same film clips. The difference is that in this section the video clips are all marked as being for 6th through 12th grade.

Finally, the most "teacher-targeted" material on the site is a downloadable teacher's guide for use when viewing the documentary.