The film chronicles the story behind hundreds of civil rights activists called Freedom Riders that challenged racial segregation in American interstate transportation during the Civil Rights Movement. The activists traveled together in small interracial groups and sat wherever they chose on buses and trains to compel equal access to terminal restaurants and waiting rooms. They brought the ongoing practice of racial segregation in the southern United States to national attention.
Stay after the movie to engage in a rich discussion about the cost of freedom. Mr. MacArthur Cotton, a 1961 Freedom Rider is our guest panelist.
MacArthur Cotton was born and raised in Attala County, Mississippi. He was the second youngest of 16 children. While attending Tougaloo College,
he became involved in the student movement and became active with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) as a volunteer. He participated in sit-ins at lunch counters and as a Freedom Rider in 1961, he was arrested and imprisoned in Parchman Prison Farm. In 1963, he became a Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) field secretary doing voter registration work in Greenwood, and was later one of the first SNCC organizers to work in Walthall County in the dangerous southwest corner of the state.
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This program was made possible in part with a grant from Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.