Freedom Riders

The freedom riders have suffered from many misconceptions and distortions about their role in the civil rights struggle. In the movie The Ladykillers, Tom Hanks describes the Freedom Riders to a young black man as a group of concerned northern liberals who came to Mississippi in 1964 “so that people like you could have the vote.” He not only got the year wrong, he also missed the fact that very few of the riders were northern liberals—although the northerners were the ones who got the publicity and the plaudits.


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