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Analysis Of The Documentary: The Freedom Riders

1146 words - 5 pages

This documentary, “The Freedom Riders” shows the story of courageous civil rights activists called ‘Freedom Riders’ in 1961 who confronted institutionalized and culturally-accepted segregation in the American South by travelling around the Deep South on buses and trains.
This documentary is based on Raymond Arsenault’s book “Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice”. It was a radical idea organized by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) that alarmed not only those who challenged the civil rights but also deliberately defied Jim Crows Law that were enacted between 1876 and 1965, by challenging the status quo by riding the interstate buses in the South in mixed racial ...view middle of the document...

The American South had a mentality in mind that there were no rights of black man that a white man had to respect. Hence, in 1961, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) organized activists which comprised of both blacks and whites to ride on buses to the Deep South to investigate the deeply rooted racial segregation of South and to spread the wave of social change through nonviolent protest against segregation. It was on May 4, 1961 when a group of 13 passengers started their journey, calling themselves freedom riders, to end segregation in the American South. The freedom riders drove two buses, beginning their journey from Washington DC with a plan to end it in New Orleans.
Even though, the freedom riders were expecting retaliation and violent opposition, they had no idea what was waiting ahead of them. On their way, when they reached North Carolina, a freedom rider by the name of Joseph Perkins got arrested for trying to have his shoes shined in a white shoe shining section. Another freedom rider was beaten up for using a whites-only restroom. Despite the hostility that freedom riders were confronted with, they were not ready to give up. Before the first bus explosion, the freedom riders met with Martin Luther King, Jr., to discuss with him about their nonviolent protest against segregation. The struggle got worse, when the passengers was stopped by a rail station in Alabama to change a slashed tire of one of the buses. They were met by a violent mob of hundred people belonging to the KKK who were given permission by the local Alabama authority to strike against the freedom fighters without the fear of being arrested. Their fights were also revealed when the Klansmen in Alabama set fire on the Freedom Ride bus. The freedom riders aim was to peacefully protest against laws that were keeping the black race segregated. This gave the freedom riders and their objective to end segregation in the South, a massive media attention and the attention from the federal government. Since the buses got destroyed, the freedom riders had to fly to their final destination (New Orleans) and their journey ended there. In spite of this, their struggle to challenge the Klan, the Citizens Councils, mob violence, and the federal government for the equal rights of the black people in the South inspired Americans to join this civil right movement together.
Nevertheless, this peaceful protest continued as other groups were inspired to protest nonviolently...

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