Facing History and Ourselves and The Allstate Foundation will host a Community Conversation this Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. featuring the film Freedom Riders by PBS American Experience.
The program will include excerpts from the film and conversation led by former Justice Department civil rights attorney, author, and Facing History board member Gerald Stern.
He will be joined by Freedom Rider Ernest “Rip” Patton Jr., who will share experiences as a participant in the Nashville Movement and the Freedom Rides.
Patton was one of 14 Tennessee State University students expelled for participating in the Rides.
They will also be joined by Geoffrey Cowan, Annenberg Family Chair in Communication Leadership at USC who volunteered with voter registration in Mississippi during 1964.
The free public event will be held at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica.
The film shares the powerful, harrowing, and ultimately inspirational story of eight months that changed America forever.
From May until December 1961, more than 400 black and white Americans risked their lives—many endured savage beatings and imprisonment—for simply traveling together on buses and trains as they journeyed through the Deep South.
Deliberately violating Jim Crow laws, the Freedom Riders were met with bitter racism and mob violence along the way, sorely testing their belief in nonviolent activism.
Facing History and Ourselves is the educational partner for the film and has created a study guide Democracy in Action that is free for download with excerpts from the film at www.facinghistory.org/freedomriders.
“The Freedom Rides are an inspiring example of the leadership of young people, as well as the cooperation among people from diverse backgrounds in working towards improving civil society,” says Marti Tippens Murphy, Los Angeles Director of Facing History and Ourselves.
To RSVP for the Dec. 7 Community Conversation, call 213.202.2811 ext. 28, or visit www.facinghistory.org/communityconversations.