Students join Freedom Riders on a history trip





BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- More times than he remembers, La’Markus Cook has traveled south on Interstate 65 from Nashville, where he attends American Baptist College, to his home outside Montgomery, Ala. But never, he said, as he did this weekend.

Air brakes hissing and motors rumbling, four buses retraced segments of the 1961 Freedom Rides on Saturday and Sunday, giving students aboard a front-seat view of a pivotal moment in civil rights history. On the rides 46 years ago, activists armed with only their convictions braved white mobs to defy segregation of interstate bus travel.

There have been many previous expeditions to locations where riders were beaten, bloodied and jailed, but this weekend’s was probably the largest and most ambitious attempt to keep the history alive.

“I don’t know that any students have ever had this opportunity before,” said Raymond Arsenault, the author of the 2006 book “Freedom Riders,” considered an authoritative history.



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