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Freedom riders stand with Martin Luther King against segregation

The Story


Segregation of the races is a daily fact of life in much of the southern United States in 1961. Restaurants, water fountains, washrooms and entrances to stores are all designated for "whites" or "coloreds". But interstate buses are a different story ever since December 1960, when the United States Supreme Court ruled against segregation in waiting rooms, restrooms and lunch counters for bus travellers. In May 1961 a mixed-race group of civil rights activists known as the Freedom Riders begins testing the ruling, and CBC-TV is there to report on the reaction in Alabama.

Medium: Television
Program: Newsmagazine
Broadcast Date: May 28, 1961
Host: Norman DePoe
Reporter: Kingsley Brown, Llloyd Robertson
Guests: Martin Luther King, John M. Patterson
Duration: 27:03

Did You know?


• The freedom rides began on May 4, 1961, when 13 riders departed for the South from Washington, D.C. The seven black riders and six white riders, part of a group called CORE (Congress of Racial Equality), were accompanied by three journalists.

• Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., seen in this clip, was not himself a freedom rider.  According to PBS.com, he was initially hesitant to support their efforts but later spoke out for them.

• John M. Patterson of Alabama served one term as governor of Alabama, from 1959 to 1963. He endorsed Barack Obama for President of the United States in 2008.


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