Bronze and mosaic relief designed by Thomas Jay Warren.

Moving Toward Liberation:
Freedom Riders Exhibition and Events

November 2-28, 2011

Burning bus image courtesy of Corbis.Freedom Riders is a traveling exhibition developed by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in partnership with AMERICAN EXPERIENCE. Major funding for the traveling exhibition provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Exclusive corporate funding for AMERICAN EXPERIENCE is provided by Liberty Mutual. Major funding provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Additional funding provided by Lynn Bay Dayton, Rodger & Dawn Nordblom, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and public television viewers.
Burning bus image courtesy of Corbis.

The Freedom Riders exhibition combines powerful photography and news coverage of the 1961 Freedom Rides and examines the movement from many perspectives – that of the Riders, the Kennedy administration, and the international community. To enhance the experience, visitors can use their cell phones to access powerful first-hand audio accounts of this dangerous experiment in the fight for civil rights.

In conjunction with this exhibit, Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library and other community organizations will present a series of related programs. These events, to be held at the library unless otherwise noted, are free and open to the public.
Friday, November 4 Democracy in Action: Freedom Riders
Facing History Educator Workshop
9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Workshop participants will engage in an in depth look at the Freedom Rides and learn more about southern segregation laws and models of political resistance during the civil rights movement. Special guest Ernest “Rip” Patton, Jr. will share his experiences as a participant in the May 24th Greyhound Freedom Ride which resulted in his imprisonment in Mississippi's Parchman State Penitentiary. Facing History is an educational partner for the PBS American Experience film. Educators register at
Saturday, November 5

Reflections on the Journey 
Screening of Freedom Riders: From award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson.
1-3 p.m.
Freedom Riders
 features testimony from a fascinating cast of central characters: the Riders themselves, state and federal government officials, and journalists who witnessed the Rides firsthand. The screening will be followed by audience discussion.

Monday, November 7

Desegregation a Mile High, Part I
Screening of Rebels Remembered, Part One: Civil Rights Movement in Colorado with discussion.
6-8 p.m.
The civil rights movement of the 1960s in the Denver metro area brought about significant changes in employment, housing, voting, and education. Some do not know of the contributions of C.O.R.E. during the 1950s and 1960s.

Wednesday, November 9

Get On The Bus! 
6-8 p.m.
Panel discussion moderated by Holly Hurd addressing art, activism and leadership in the 21st century. Accompanies Get On The Bus! the November exhibit in the Cousins Gallery, featuring local African American artists.

Saturday, November 12

Lift Every Voice and Sing Tea
2-5 p.m.
Hosted by the National Council of Negro Women.

Monday, November 14

Education for Social Justice
9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Teach-in for High School U..S history, African-American history, or Civil Rights classes, featuring Freedom Rider, Jim Lawson, and Jonny 5 and Brer Rabbit of the Flobots.

Educators – contact to register your class.
Presentation is from 10-11:30 a.m. Touring the exhibit and/or Five Points walking tour can be arranged before or after the presentation.  The public is welcome to attend.

2-3 p.m.
Teach-in for students and the general public featuring Jim Lawson, Freedom Rider.

Monday, November 14

Desegregation a Mile High, Part II
Screening of Rebels Remembered, Part Three: My Neighborhood School with discussion.
6-8 p.m.
Explores the last century of education change in the Denver area schools. My neighborhood school traces the evolution through de facto segregation, bussing and white flight. Interviews reveal the forces at work on administrators, politicians, students, teachers and parents as our communities evolved.

Monday, November 14

Destination Freedom Black Radio Days – Offsite event
Live Radio Drama followed by community dialog
7-9 p.m. at Su Teatro, 721 Santa Fe Dr., 80204
IMPORTANT – to be a member of the live studio audience call 720-748-1388 for information
This broadcast, based on the radio dramas of the 1940s and 50s and produced by donnie l. betts, will feature actors, sound effects and music that will take you back to the days when radio was called theatre of the mind. Join guest James Lawson and other riders from the summer of 1961. They will share first- hand accounts of the rides and then will join the audience for a community dialogue on race and other issues that face our nation. The performance will include musical guests performing songs from the Southern Freedom Movement. 
Tune in to KGNU 88.5 FM or 1390 AM 7-8 p.m.

Wednesday, November 16

Education for Social Justice
10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Guided tours of the exhibit.

10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Community Engagement Resource Fair.

9:30-11 a.m.
Professor Winston Grady-Willis, Department Chair, African and African American Studies, Metropolitan State College of Denver, will discuss the roles and contributions of students in the Civil Rights Movement.

2 p.m.
Non-violent Resistance: The Struggle for Civil Rights and the Occupy Movement
Moderator is Dani Newsum and the panelists, Dr. Terry Burnsed of MSCD and Jacob Cammack of Occupy Denver.

Friday, November 18

Songs of the Struggle 
1-4 p.m.
An interactive panel, led by Dr. Ella Maria Ray and Dr. Rachel Harding, that brings local scholars and poets together to dialogue with the audience about how Africans in the Americas have historically embraced vocal music as they moved towards and continue to advance in the direction of authentic liberation.

Saturday, November 19

Filming the Struggle
Using the Documentary as Liberation Text
1-5 p.m.
Presenter Judy  Richardson brings a unique perspective to her workshop: she was a staff member of the student civil rights organization, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), working in the Deep South for three years in the early 1960s; she was the first full-time staffer for the initial version of what was to become Eyes on the Prize; she was a member of the production team for all 14 hours of that seminal PBS, Academy Award-nominated series; and she participated in many of the social change events portrayed in Eyes.

In the workshop, Ms. Richardson explores the history and values of the modern Civil Rights Movement through clips from Eyes on the Prize, as well as other Movement-related films. Emphasis will be placed on the courage and intelligence of the local people who organized and sustained the Movement, as well as on the ways in which the events and values of that Movement are relevant to the difficult challenges students face today. A discussion of the making of EYES – and relevant lessons/stories from the Movement – will be woven throughout.

"Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC" book sales and signing to follow.

Monday, November 21

The Harmonies of Liberty
Screening of Soundtrack for a Revolution
6-8 p.m.
This musical documentary presents the songs that helped nourish the Civil Rights Movement. It includes newsreel footage, oral histories, and performances of spirituals and protest songs by contemporary musicians. The screening will be followed by audience discussion be led by donnie l. betts.

Monday, November 28

Trees Planted by the Waters
Screening of Freedom Song
6-8 p.m.
Starring Danny Glover, Freedom Song is a story of unsung citizens who worked for Civil Rights at the grass roots level.  Although fictional, this drama is based on first-hand accounts of veteran front line activists.

The library is closed on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.
Closed for holidays on Friday, November 11 and Thursday, November 24.
Early closing (4 p.m.) on Wednesday, November 23.

Photography of the exhibition is permitted within the following guidelines:

  • NOT PERMITTED: No direct photos of individual images or any close-ups.
  • PERMITTED: Wide shots of the exhibition or exhibition panel(s).
  • Hi-res jpegs of select images are available, contact Consuelo Cosio,
  • To set up an interview or a private tour of the exhibition, contact Erin Lally, or 720-865-2411.

Learn more about the exhibit at
Learn more about the film, and watch online at
Funding for the traveling exhibition provided by

American Experience PBS

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History

National Endowment for the Humanities

Holiday Inn Select Denver, Cherry Creek
Facing History and Ourselves
Metropolitan State College of Denver
Colorado Humanities
University of Colorado Denver
History Colorado
Denver Public Library

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Bronze and mosaic relief designed by Thomas Jay Warren.
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Last modified: Wednesday, 08-May-2013 16:53:09 MDT
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