'Freedom Riders' airs on UNC-TV

Posted May 16, 2011 10:50 a.m. EDT
Updated May 20, 2011 10:26 a.m. EDT

UNC-TV aired "Freedom Riders" on May 16 about "the powerful, harrowing and ultimately inspirational story of six months in 1961 that changed America forever."

From May until November 1961, more than 400 black and white Americans risked their lives – and many endured savage beatings and imprisonment – for traveling together on buses and trains as they journeyed through the Deep South

Deliberately violating Jim Crow laws, the Freedom Riders met with bitter racism and mob violence along the way, sorely testing their belief in nonviolent activism.

From award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson (Wounded Knee, Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple, The Murder of Emmett Till) "Freedom Riders" features testimony from a cast of central characters: the Riders themselves, state and federal government officials and journalists who witnessed the Rides firsthand.

The two-hour documentary is based on Raymond Arsenault's book, "Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice."

Capitol Broadcasting Company, which owns WRAL, was a sponsor of the program.