Segregation and the Civil Rights Movement Questions and Answers

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To what extent did the American Civil Rights movement influence Australia's Freedom Rides and how are they similar and different?

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The Australian Freedom Ride was directly inspired by the American civil rights movement. Just as Dr. Martin Luther King and his supporters challenged racial hatred and prejudice in the United States, so too did the Australian Freedom Riders in their own country. In doing so, they adopted similar tactics to the US civil rights movement.

The Freedom Riders would drive around from place to place seeking to expose and challenge racism against Australia's indigenous people. As they did so, they often encountered hostility from white Australians. After protesting at their first port of call, the Walgett ex-servicemen's club from which indigenous ex-servicemen were excluded, the Freedom Riders were attacked by members of the local community. Agitators tried to drive their bus off the road as they were leaving town.

In keeping with the pacifist approach of Dr. King, the Freedom Riders did not resort to violent tactics. But in general, they didn't need to. They weren't subjected to anything close...

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