Arkansas PBS > Engage > Pressroom > 'American Experience invites college students to 'get on the bus' 50 years later to retrace 1961 Freedom Rides

'American Experience invites college students to 'get on the bus' 50 years later to retrace 1961 Freedom Rides

Posted 23 Nov 2010

"American Experience" is currently accepting applications for the Student Freedom Ride, an all expenses paid trip retracing the original 1961 Freedom Rides from Washington, D.C., to Jackson, Miss., May 6-17, 2011.

"American Experience" will select 40 students who possess strong written communication skills and demonstrate a commitment to civic engagement. All applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 25 as of May 1, 2011, and must be full or part-time undergraduate students. The application is available at The application deadline is Jan. 17, 2011, and decisions will be announced in February.

The 2011 Student Freedom Ride will begin in Washington, D.C., and the journey will kick off with a series of events in partnership with many original Freedom Riders who will be gathered for 50th anniversary events. The 10-day journey will take students from Washington to Jackson, Miss. All transportation, hotel and food expenses are covered by "American Experience."

Between May and December of 1961, 436 Freedom Riders took part in more than 60 rides. They had various points of origination and termination, but all Riders had the same goals: to test and challenge segregated travel facilities throughout the South and awaken the nations conscience to the reality and injustice of segregation.

"American Experience: Freedom Riders," a documentary about the 1961 rides, will premiere on the Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) in May 2011. A trailer of the film and additional information is available at

"American Experience," a production of WGBH Boston, has been honored with every major broadcast award, including 25 Emmy Awards, four duPont-Columbia Awards and 14 George Foster Peabody Awards. Funding for "American Experience" is provided by Liberty Mutual, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and public television viewers.

The Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) is Arkansas's statewide public television network that enhances lives by providing lifelong learning opportunities for people from all walks of life. AETN delivers local, award-winning productions and classic, trusted PBS programs aimed at sharing Arkansas and the world with viewers. AETN depends on the generosity of Arkansans and the State of Arkansas to continue offering quality programming. For more information, visit, or follow the AETN blog at AETN is broadcast on KETS (Little Rock), KEMV (Mountain View), KETG (Arkadelphia), KAFT (Fayetteville), KTEJ (Jonesboro), and KETZ (El Dorado).