We Were Prepared for the Possibility of Death, Freedom Riders in the South, 1961-1962




This collection of primary source documents from the FBI Library sheds light on the history of the Freedom Riders, civil rights activists who rode interstate buses into the segregated South in the summer of 1961. Their activities tested the US Supreme Court decision in Boynton v. Virginia, which outlawed racial segregation in the restaurants and waiting rooms in terminals serving buses that crossed state lines. At a time when Jim Crow travel laws remained in force throughout the South, the Freedom Rides, and the violent reactions they provoked, bolstered the credibility of the Civil Rights Movement and called national attention to the violent disregard for the law that was used to enforce segregation in the southern United States.


African Americans, Ethnic Studies, United States History

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