Visit the New Online Exhibition Freedom Riders Marking the 50th Anniversary of the Rides

NEW YORK, NY (May 4, 2011)The Freedom Riders online exhibition is now available. In honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the Freedom Rides, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, in affiliation with WGBH Boston/The American Experience, has launched an online exhibition that brings the Riders and their plight to life digitally. Created in tandem with a traveling panel exhibition that started its tour in November 2010, this online exhibition allows visitors to explore the history of the Freedom Rides from the comfort of their home.

On May 4, 1961, thirteen courageous Americans—black and white, ages 17 to 45—boarded two buses in Washington, DC, bound for the heart of the Jim Crow South. Determined to make the desegregation of interstate travel mandated by the US Supreme Court a reality, these thirteen volunteers and the hundreds of students and activists who joined them sat united in one of the most critical nonviolent movements in American history.

With new text by Freedom Rides historian Raymond Arsenault, Freedom Riders vividly unfolds the history of the Rides through the stories of those at the heart of the Civil Rights Movement, presenting the powerful images, headlines, and documents that redraw our perspective of this critical moment in our nation’s history. Both the online and traveling panel exhibitions coincide with the release of a new Freedom Riders television special produced by WGBH/The American Experience to be aired May 16, 2011.

Supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the travelling exhibition is offered free to institutions nationwide.


Founded in 1994, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is a nonprofit organization improving and enriching American history education through a wide range of programs and resources for students, teachers, scholars, and history enthusiasts throughout the nation. Gilder Lehrman creates and works closely with history-focused schools; organizes summer seminars and development programs for teachers; produces print and digital publications and traveling exhibitions; hosts lectures by eminent historians; administers a History Teacher of the Year Award in every state and U.S. territory; and offers national book prizes and fellowships for scholars to work in the Gilder Lehrman Collection as well as other renowned archives. Gilder Lehrman hosts www.gilderlehrman.org, serving as the gateway to American history online and featuring the quarterly online journal History Now, designed specifically for K-12 teachers and students.

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