When did Freedom Riders take place?  

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Freedom Riders were people who were involved in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. They came into the South to draw attention to the segregation that existed in the South. They were often met with fierce resistance by white southerners.

One of the goals of the Freedom Riders was to highlight segregation that existed in bus terminals in the South. While this segregation was ruled illegal by the Supreme Court in 1960, the segregation continued to exist in the bus terminals. One of the more famous and well-publicized situations involving the Freedom Riders involved a group that came from Washington, D.C. in May 1961. When they got to Anniston, Alabama, a group of whites surrounded the bus and punctured the tires. When the bus left the town, the tires went flat, causing the bus to come to a halt. Then a bomb was thrown into the bus, setting it on fire. While the Freedom Riders watched their bus burn, they were attacked by the white mob. Another bus on that same day also encountered violence when it arrived in Birmingham, Alabama. The pictures of these events were captured and shown across the nation. This drew more attention to what the Freedom Riders were trying to accomplish. 

Additional Freedom Riders came to the South and experienced the same results. They were beaten by white mobs. The federal government sent in federal marshals to restore order after a beating occurred in Montgomery, Alabama, also in May 1961. The Freedom Riders didn’t give up on their goal to integrate bus terminals. More Freedom Rides were held, in 1961 and eventually, the federal government ordered that the interstate bus terminals must be integrated.

With much courage, bravery, and sacrifice, the Freedom Riders were able to help reduce the segregation that existed in the South.

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