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'Freedom Riders' Featuring Late John Lewis and C.T. Vivian
‘Freedom Riders’ Featuring Late John Lewis and C.T. Vivian

In honor of the recent passing of two of the original Freedom Riders, longtime Georgia congressman John Lewis and the Reverend C.T. Vivian, American Experience announced that it will stream Stanley Nelson’s Freedom Riders beginning today, Monday, July 20 on PBS.org and the PBS Video App.

The winner of three Primetime Emmy Awards, Freedom Riders, first broadcast in 2011, tells the powerful, harrowing and ultimately inspirational story of six months that transformed America. From May until November 1961, more than 400 Black and white Americans risked their lives — and many endured imprisonment and savage beatings — by traveling together on buses and trains as they journeyed through the Deep South. Deliberately violating Jim Crow laws in order to test and challenge a segregated interstate travel system, the Freedom Riders met with bitter racism and mob violence along the way, sorely testing their belief in nonviolent activism. The film features testimony from government officials, journalists who witnessed the rides firsthand, and an extraordinary gathering of the Riders themselves, including John Lewis and C.T. Vivian, who recount their experiences.

“During the making of Freedom Riders I had the honor and the pleasure to get to know and interview John Lewis and C. T. Vivian,” said filmmaker Stanley Nelson. “They were true heroes who put their lives on the line to create positive change in the world. The lives of so many, including mine, were forever altered by their heroism. It is important for all of us in this moment to take up their legacy and push for real systemic change. May they Rest In Peace and Power.”

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