Penn State students urged to get on the bus

December 14, 2010

Students from across the country will travel with original Freedom Riders to retrace historic bus route on “2011 Student Freedom Ride”

University Park, Pa. – Penn State students are encouraged to be a part of the 2011 Student Freedom Ride, a journey retracing the historic civil rights bus rides that changed America. Accompanied by original Freedom Riders, 40 college students will be chosen to participate in the bus ride which will take place from May 6 - 16, 2011 in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the original rides.

The 2011 Student Freedom Ride is the centerpiece of a major outreach campaign leading up to the May 2011 PBS broadcast of Stanley Nelson’s acclaimed film “Freedom Riders,” the powerful and inspirational story of the more than 400 black and white men and women who, using nonviolent tactics, risked their lives to challenge segregated facilities in the South in 1961. WPSU/Penn State Public Broadcasting is a participating station and will air “Freedom Riders” as well as hold screenings and forums leading up to the broadcast. “Freedom Riders” is a production of PBS’s American Experience.

Applications are due Monday, Jan. 17, 2011. Details and instructions about the application process can be found at online.

The 2011 Student Freedom Ride will begin in Washington, D.C. and roll through Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi, stopping along the way at historically significant locations. The students will spend time with original Freedom Riders who will share their memories of this bold and dangerous experiment in the fight for equal rights. Students also will meet with today’s leaders in civic engagement.

“We hope that the film and the ride will inspire young people to see that the past was made up of courageous, ordinary people who were able to make great changes,” said Stanley Nelson, the film’s director. “One of the things that the film shows is that success was not inevitable and only came from perseverance and sometimes to do any great thing, it’s important that we step out alone.”

Those who are chosen to participate will be college students from a broad range of backgrounds with diverse voices. Students will be encouraged to share their experiences and must be eager to learn from their peers, from pioneers in the civil rights movement, and from today’s civic leaders. Students should have strong written communication skills and a commitment to civic engagement.



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Last Updated March 21, 2011