SOURCE: American Experience

American Experience

October 21, 2010 14:08 ET

American Experience Announces Major Outreach Campaign for Stanley Nelson's "Freedom Riders" Premiering May 2011

Students Will Be Selected to Travel With Original Freedom Riders to Retrace Historic Bus Route on "2011 Student Freedom Ride"

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - October 21, 2010) -  PBS's AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, America's most-watched history series, today announced the launch of the 2011 Student Freedom Ride, a journey retracing the historic civil rights bus rides that changed America. Accompanied by original Freedom Riders, forty 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. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for college students committed to learning from history and applying those lessons today, the ride is also a catalyst for a national conversation about the role of civic engagement today. 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 non-violent tactics, risked their lives to challenge segregated facilities in the South in 1961.

Kicking off in Washington, DC with a major public event that will gather many who were involved in the original Rides, the 2011 Student Freedom Ride will 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 will also meet with today's leaders in civic engagement.

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE is seeking college students from a broad range of backgrounds who will lend diverse voices to the journey. 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.

The 2011 Student Freedom Ride will provide these students with an opportunity to take part in an inter-generational conversation about the very idea of civic engagement. What form does civic engagement take today? What has changed since 1961? What would inspire today's students to "get on the bus?" A moving digital media platform, the 2011 Student Freedom Ride will facilitate the students' use of both social and traditional media to share their experiences, bringing others along on their journey, and encouraging their friends and classmates to think more seriously about civic activism and the role that it plays in a thriving democracy.

Applications for college student participation are being accepted starting today through January 17, 2011 and can be accessed at http://www.pbs.org/freedomriders.

Exclusive corporate funding for AMERICAN EXPERIENCE is provided by Liberty Mutual. Major funding provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Major funding for Freedom Riders provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities, The Documentary Investment Group: Lynn Bay Dayton and Rodger & Dawn Nordblum, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and public television viewers. Funding for the 2011 Student Bus Ride provided by Lynn Bay Dayton and the Fledgling Fund. AMERICAN EXPERIENCE is produced for PBS by WGBH Boston.

Complete information on FREEDOM RIDERS and the outreach campaign is available online at www.pbs.org/freedomriders.

For photos and additional information, visit www.pbs.org/pressroom and http://pitch.pe/38907   

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