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Freedom Riders facts for kids

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Exhibit on Freedom Riders - Center for Civil and Human Rights - Atlanta - Georgia - USA (33468216774)
Some of the riders

Freedom Riders were civil rights activists who rode interstate buses into the segregated Southern United States in 1961 and years to challenge the non-enforcement of the United States Supreme Court decisions Morgan v. Virginia (1946) and Boynton v. Virginia (1960), which ruled that segregated public buses were unconstitutional.

The Southern states had ignored the rulings and the federal government did nothing to enforce them. The first Freedom Ride left Washington, D.C. on May 4, 1961, and was scheduled to arrive in New Orleans on May 17.

Southern local and state police considered the actions of the Freedom Riders to be criminal and arrested them in some locations. In some places, such as Birmingham, Alabama, the police worked with the Ku Klux Klan and other white people against the actions of the riders, and allowed mobs to attack the riders.

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