THE FREEDOM RIDERS AND THE STRUGGLE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS- interview with USF professor Ray Arsenault

02/16/06

Raymond Arsenault was the guest on this segment where he discussed his groundbreaking new book, Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice (Oxford | January 2006).

In 1961, the Freedom Riders set out for the Deep South to defy Jim Crow laws and call for change. They were met by hatred and violence - and local police often refused to intervene. But the Riders' efforts transformed the civil rights movement. The book details how volunteers - both black and white - traveled to the Deep South to fight segregation in transit systems. Despite being backed by federal rulings that it was unconstitutional to segregate bus riders, the Freedom Riders met with fierce resistance - as in Birmingham and Montgomery, where white supremacists attacked buses and bus depots.

In Freedom Riders, Arsenault is the first author to completely detail how the Freedom Rides developed, from the personal level to the legal maneuvering involved. His narrative touches on elements from the jails of Alabama to the Kennedy White House.

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