This week we went to JCCC for a performance of “Freedom Riders” by Mad River Theater Works. This powerful and moving play brought to life the experiences of the students who participated in and organized the freedom rides to desegregate buses throughout the South. This play showed the students the danger that the Freedom Riders were under due to threats of violence from people who did not want integrated buses. The students learned about how the rides were organized, and in the case of some of the participants, they also were able to learn more about the lives of the students after the freedom rides. The Q&A part of the program was especially moving because the theater troupe shared with us their experience meeting one of the original Freedom Riders whose history was included in the play. This play is highly recommended for anyone looking to explain civil rights and peaceful civil disobedience to students.
For more information about the Freedom Riders, the theater troupe recommended reading “Breach of Peace” by Eric Etheridge, available at the Johnson County Library.