Thursday, October 28, 2010

Freedom Riders

Calan and I went to see the documentary, Freedom Riders, at the US Embassy in Prague Friday Oct. 23rd. We met at the train station and then headed to the Embassy. The author of the book, Freedom Riders, was there to introduce his film. He spent about 10 years researching this topic and looking for Freedom Riders that are still around. Raymond Arsenault is a historian and collaborated with other historians to make this documentary. He is premiering it in Germany, Czech Republic and various places in Europe before it will be shown in the US. It will be shown in the US on May 14, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Rides to the south. Hollywood is even casting roles to make it into a motion picture with Tom Hanks.
For those of you that don't know (including me before I saw the film) in 1960/61 a group called The CORE (group of whites and blacks) decided that they were going to peacefully protest segregation of blacks and whites by taking the bus to the heart of racial animosity, the South. They rode the bus to Alabama and Mississippi. Along the way, one of the two buses with Freedom Riders was assaulted by mobs and burned to the ground. The other bus was attacked when it got to the station and most of the Freedom Riders were hospitalized.
After the CORE was attacked a group of college students picked up the Freedom Rides and again they were met with severe hostility. The US government at the time ignored the problem and it wasn't until many attacks on the Freedom Riders that martial law was put in place to protect the riders. It was because of the Freedom Riders that Civil Rights was brought to the attention of many and because of this unknown group of individuals, that the Civil Rights Movement began.
The Freedom Riders put their life on the line, dropped out of college for the cause, and sacrificed so much in the name of peace and equality. The 2 hour film was absolutely AMAZING and I STRONGLY STRONGLY encourage EVERY high school classroom to show it. I was absolutely moved from the film and it even brought tears to my eyes. I feel honored to have met Raymond Arsenault and be a witness to brilliant film.

No comments:

Post a Comment