Sneak peak at new documentary: Freedom Riders

By Sarah Frierson

It began in May of 1961 when thirteen people boarded a bus bound for the Deep South. The Freedom Riders did not know the dangers they would face nor the ultimate affect their journey would have on a nation. Armed only with conviction, their desire to confront the Jim Crow laws forcing segregated travel precipitated a chain of events that would pit violence against nonviolence and ultimately gain the attention of the White House and the rest of the world.

In May, PBS is airing a new documentary on the Freedom Riders as part of their American Experience series. The film, by veteran filmmaker Stanley Nelson (Jonestown, The Murder of Emmett Till, Wounded Knee), will premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

Memphians will have a sneak peek of this remarkable film on March 3 at 7pm. Facing History and Ourselves is hosting a free screening and discussion of the film, featuring a Q&A with Freedom Rides participant Ernest “Rip” Patton, Jr. The event will be held in the University Theater at Christian Brothers University (650 East Parkway South) and is open to the public.

If you plan to take a group of 15 or more, please RSVP by contacting the Facing History and Ourselves office at 901-452-1776. For more information about the film and the Freedom Rides, visit


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