The people who joined the Freedom Riders joined because they wanted to make a difference. The law was three years old, and still, people remained segregated. They wanted to challenge the people that were still disobeying the law. The Freedom Riders knew that they were going to provoke violence, but felt that it was worth it. Some people felt very strong about taking action to try and have everyone treated as equals. Some people didn’t feel this way. The ones who did chose to step out and put their own lives at risk to try to make a difference. There started out as only thirteen Freedom Riders. There came to be over four hundred that got on the buses, planes and trains between May and November of 1961.
The Freedom Riders non-violent tactics were very effective. These tactics were taught to them by Martin Luther King, Jr. Being non-violent drew a very dark line between the Freedom Riders and the angry, violent mobs. This night and day difference managed to bring the racial segregation directly into the media. This managed to have people, who normally would ignore the segregation, to become outraged at the violent attacks. While jailed, instead of lashing out against the ones that had hurt them, they chose to sing freedom songs. For this, they were beaten, starved and refused exercise time. The women were stripped and searched. This did not stop them. They continued to sing.
Once the media started covering the violent attacks of the Freedom Riders, people of every color became outraged. This caused President Kennedy to become involved, as well as his brother. While quite a few of the Freedom Riders were arrested and jailed for a time, the media managed to continue on with their fight. Even though the Freedom Riders were behind bars, the fight that they cared so much about continued outside the prison walls.
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