Ahead Of Anniversary, Freedom Riders Remember

Fifty years ago this May, 13 people boarded a bus in Washington, D.C. The Freedom Riders, as they are called, challenged segregation on buses and in waiting rooms throughout the South. Some of those riders are using their experiences to motivate students today — to show them that the actions of one person can make a difference.

Joan Trumpauer Mulholland stood alongside her fellow Freedom Riders staring at a picture of a black man on a bus who is watching two National Guardsmen.

“There’s Dave Dennis,” she says, “looking up at the guys with the bayonets.”

The picture was among the many framed in the windows of a 1960s-era bus sitting in the middle of University of Mary Washington’s Fredericksburg, Va., campus. The Freedom Riders and some students examined photos showing the struggles of the more than 400 Freedom Riders who risked their lives in nonviolent protests beginning in May 1961.

NPR
4/7/11