The Freedom Riders were a group of activists who were pushing for civil rights for African Americans. Specifically, the Freedom Riders were trying to call attention to discrimination in interstate transportation in the South. Their rides started in 1961.
By 1961, the Supreme Court had ruled that discrimination in waiting rooms for interstate busses was illegal. The Interstate Commerce Commission had also outlawed discrimination in interstate transportation. However, Southern states still had Jim Crow laws that they applied to interstate busses. The Freedom Riders rode interstate busses into the South to call attention to this illegal situation. They were victims of a great deal of violence. This was one of the more important protests of the Civil Rights Movement.