April 02, 2014 , BY Kathryn Kopchik

The Freedom Riders exhibit may be seen April 16 through May 13 on the main level of the Bertrand Library at Bucknell University.

The exhibit, illustrated with archival photos and newspaper clippings, is sponsored by the Friends of the Ellen Clarke Bertrand Library and the Griot Institute for Africana Studies.

The exhibit is free and open to the public during Library hours as part of the ongoing Griot series "The Civil Rights Movement: Fifty Years Later."

Inspired by visions of social revolution, the self-proclaimed "Freedom Riders" challenged the mores of a racially segregated society by performing a disarmingly simple act over nearly eight months in 1961; they traveled together in small inter-racial groups, they sat where they pleased on buses and trains, and they demanded unrestricted access to terminal restaurants and waiting rooms.

In response to their protest, Klansmen in Alabama set fire to the original Freedom Bus, and Mississippi officials locked up more than 300 Riders in Parchman State Penitentiary.

On Sept. 22, after nearly five months of fighting, the Interstate Commerce Commission issued its order to end the segregation in bus and rail stations that had been in place for generations.

Freedom Riders is a traveling exhibition developed by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in partnership with AMERICAN EXPERIENCE. Major funding for the traveling exhibition was provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.



 

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