Local High Students To Follow Freedom Riders' Trail
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High school students from the Renaissance Charter High School for Innovation in East Harlem and across the five boroughs will are retrace the steps taken by the original "freedom riders" who demonstrated in the South 50 years ago.
On Wednesday, dance and stories of civil rights marked the kick-off of the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Rides.
Back in 1961, groups of students and civil rights advocates boarded buses from Washington, D.C. to Mississippi to protest segregation on public transportation. Many of the Freedom Riders were beaten and jailed in the deep South.
Today's students found inspiration in their courageous stories.
"The strength that they had. They were beaten, things thrown at them. It was very dangerous for them. and just inspiring to me," said student Deanna Ford. "If they could do it, so can I. The youngest was 13, the youngest freedom rider was 13. And I'm 15. So if he could do it then I can do it."
"We're challenging all our young people to think about what in the world would move them to be a freedom rider. What in their lives they want to change and how they are going to be able to make that change," said original freedom rider Lewis Zuchman.
Next Friday, the students will board buses making several of the same stops made in the original ride, ending in Jackson, Miss.
NY1's Budd Mishkin will be joining them and will filing reports, beginning May 20.