Anna Nutter ’12 is getting on the bus. This May, Nutter will join 39 other college students from across the country on the 2011 Student Freedom Ride, an experiential learning opportunity for college students and the 50th anniversary of the original May 1961 Freedom Rides.
During a 10-day journey beginning May 6, the ride will be a moving classroom in which the students will retrace the routes taken by the original Freedom Riders – civil rights activists who rode interstate buses in 1961 into then-segregated southern states to test the U.S. Supreme Court decision Boynton v. Virginia outlawing racial segregation in the restaurants and waiting rooms in terminals serving buses that crossed state lines.
“I am so very excited and humbled to be able to take part in this wonderful opportunity,” says Nutter. “To be able to retrace the route of the Freedom Riders both acknowledges their incredible role in the Civil Rights Movement and reminds present day America that their fight is not yet finished.”
Organizers hope the ride will serve as a means of launching a national conversation about the role of civic engagement in a thriving democracy, explore what issues inspire students to “get on the bus” today, and look at what forms civic engagement is taking on campuses and in communities across the country.
Some of the original Freedom Riders will accompany the students, as will filmmaker Stanley Nelson, director of the acclaimed film Freedom Riders, set to premiere on the popular PBS show American Experience May 16.