From May to December 1961, the Freedom Riders fanned out on buses and trains across the deep south in order to test the 1960 Supreme Court decision in Boynton v. Virginia which determined that segregated vehicles and facilities in interstate travel were illegal. Organized by CORE (Congress of Racial Equality), Freedom Riders consisted of groups of blacks and whites traveling together and refusing to recognize any barriers placed between blacks and whites. They would sit together on buses and trains, wait together in terminals, and eat together in restaurants. They met with resistance, often extremely violent, but were committed to responding nonviolently.
Temple religion professor John Raines, who will be retiring on June 30, 2011, was a Freedom Rider. From July 8-15, 1961 he traveled by bus with black and white companions from St. Louis, Missouri to Little Rock, Arkansas to Shreveport, Louisiana and finally to New Orleans, Louisiana.
Recently, in his office in Anderson Hall, he told me the story of his freedom ride.
iTunes U link (for downloads)