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FREEDOM RIDERS : A Stanley Nelson Film : American Experience – In memory


  Get Inspired

 The World Premiere: In 2010 at Sundance Film Festival, US

 A Documentary Competition

Award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson (Wounded Knee, Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple, The Murder of Emmett Till) returns to the Sundance Film Festival with his latest documentary FREEDOM RIDERS, the powerful, harrowing and ultimately inspirational story of six months in 1961 that changed America forever. From May until November 1961, more than 400 black and white Americans risked their lives—and many endured savage beatings and imprisonment—for simply traveling together on buses and trains as they journeyed through the Deep South. Deliberately violating Jim Crow laws, the Freedom Riders’ belief in non-violent activism was sorely tested as mob violence and bitter racism greeted them along the way.

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.

“I got up one morning in May and I said to my folks at home, I won’t be back today because I’m a Freedom Rider. It was like a wave or a wind that you didn’t know where it was coming from or where it was going, but you knew you were supposed to be there.” — Pauline Knight-Ofuso, Freedom Rider

Despite two earlier Supreme Court decisions that mandated the desegregation of interstate travel facilities, black Americans in 1961 continued to endure hostility and racism while traveling through the South. The newly inaugurated Kennedy administration, embroiled in the Cold War and worried about the nuclear threat, did little to address domestic Civil Rights.See the source image

“It became clear that the Civil Rights leaders had to do something desperate, something dramatic to get Kennedy’s attention. That was the idea behind the Freedom Rides—to dare the federal government to do what it was supposed to do, and see if their constitutional rights would be protected by the Kennedy administration,” explains Raymond Arsenault, author of Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice, on which the film is partially based.

Organized by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the self-proclaimed “Freedom Riders” came from all strata of American society—black and white, young and old, male and female, Northern and Southern. They embarked on the Rides knowing the danger but firmly committed to the ideals of non-violent protest, aware that their actions could provoke a savage response but willing to put their lives on the line for the cause of justice.

Each time the Freedom Rides met violence and the campaign seemed doomed, new ways were found to sustain and even expand the movement. After Klansmen in Alabama set fire to the original Freedom Ride bus, student activists from Nashville organized a ride of their own. “We were past fear. If we were going to die, we were gonna die, but we can’t stop,” recalls Rider Joan Trumpauer-Mulholland. “If one person falls, others take their place.”

Later, Mississippi officials locked up more than 300 Riders in the notorious Parchman State Penitentiary. Rather than weaken the Riders’ resolve, the move only strengthened their determination. None of the obstacles placed in their path would weaken their commitment.

The Riders’ journey was front-page news and the world was watching. After nearly five months of fighting, the federal government capitulated. On September 22, the Interstate Commerce Commission issued its order to end the segregation in bus and rail stations that had been in place for generations. “This was the first unambiguous victory in the long history of the Civil Rights Movement. It finally said, ‘We can do this.’ And it raised expectations across the board for greater victories in the future,” says Arsenault.

“The people that took a seat on these buses, that went to jail in Jackson, that went to Parchman, they were never the same. We had moments there to learn, to teach each other the way of nonviolence, the way of love, the way of peace. The Freedom Ride created an unbelievable sense: Yes, we will make it. Yes, we will survive. And that nothing, but nothing, was going to stop this movement,” recalls Congressman John Lewis, one of the original Riders.

Says Stanley Nelson, “The lesson of the Freedom Rides is that great change can come from a few small steps taken by courageous people. And that sometimes to do any great thing, it’s important that we step out alone.”

CREDITS
A Stanley Nelson Film
A Firelight Media Production for AMERICAN EXPERIENCE

Produced, Written and Directed by
Stanley Nelson

Produced by
Laurens Grant

Edited by
Lewis Erskine, Aljernon Tunsil

Archival Producer
Lewanne Jones

Associate Producer
Stacey HolmanDirector of Photography
Robert Shepard

Composer
Tom Phillips

Music Supervisor
Rena Kosersky

Based in part on the book Freedom Riders by
Raymond Arsenault

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE is a production of WGBH Boston.
Senior producer
Sharon Grimberg

Executive producer
Mark Samels

Know Your Rights …


reblogged – Gotta wonder,  what has changed 8 years later

What does placing your signature on the Miranda Waiver Really Mean?

by jeanfandrews

Deaf suspects are asked routinely to sign the Miranda Warning Waiver affirming they waive their rights. What does this mean? For the police and detective this means that the deaf person understands the six statements of the Miranda and read it with comprehension. When they sign their name on the waiver, this means they waiver their rights to remain silent, seek an attorney before questioning and so on. However, the deaf person may sign their name and have a different view. A deaf defendant who may read at the third grade or below may not be able to read the Miranda. They may put their signature on the document simply to appear cooperative. How can the detective determine if the deaf person understands the Miranda Warning? One way is to have a sign language interpreter present. This rarely happens. Typically, police and detectives relay on written communication and lipreading which are rarely effective for deaf defendants whose primary language is American Sign Language (ASL). Two viewpoints–one from the detective or police and one from the deaf defendants. The police and detectives run the risk of having their interrogation and confessions of the defendant thrown out of court or suppressed if they fail to provide for a sign language interpreter. This is not only Federal law but is found in many state statutes as well. What is the answer? More education for detectives and police about the difficulties deaf adults have in comprehending the Miranda.

President Obama to Host the 2012 White House Tribal Nations Conference


The White House

On December 5, 2012, President Obama will host representatives invited from each of the 566 federally recognized American Indian tribes, and Alaska Native Villages, at the 2012 White House Tribal Nations Conference. Fulfilling a commitment to improve and expand dialog with Indian Country, the President has hosted a Tribal Nations Conference in each year of his Presidency to facilitate a lasting discussion between Tribal Leaders and Senior Administration Officials.

The opening and closing sessions of the Conference will be available for live online viewing at www.WhiteHouse.gov/Live and also at www.DOI.gov/Live. The expected agenda is as follows:

Opening Session, 9:00am – 10:30am EST
Secretary Ken Salazar, Department of the Interior
Secretary Arne Duncan, Department of Education
Deputy Secretary Neal Wolin, Department of the Treasury
Acting Secretary Rebecca Blank, Department of Commerce
Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Department of Health and Human Services
Secretary Tom Vilsack, Department of Agriculture

Closing Session, 1:30pm – 3:30pm EST
Leaders of each Tribal Leaders Breakout Session
Secretary Ray LaHood, Department of Transportation
Secretary Hilda Solis, Department of Labor
President Barack Obama

The White House Tribal Nations Conference is the cornerstone of the Administration’s outreach and engagement with tribal governments and the dialogue and lessons learned will help shape federal policy in the weeks, months and years to come. We would like to sincerely thank all tribal leaders who will be taking part in the White House Tribal Nations Conference and we look forward to our continued collaboration and dialogue.

So Who Were Those 14 People Standing Behind the President?


The White House

On Friday, President Obama laid out his strategy for moving our country forward and reducing our deficit in a balanced way. Speaking from the East Room of the White House, the President was joined by Vice President Joe Biden – and 14 others stood behind him at the podium.

So who were those 14 people anyway? One was Pam, a school administrator. Another, Sara, is a veteran recovering from open-heart surgery. Barry has six children and Steve is an orthopedic assistant. Estela recently became an American citizen and voted in a U.S. election for the first time on Tuesday.

What they all have in common, however, is an interest in helping find answers to some of the big questions we face as a nation.

Find out more about the 14 people who stood behind the President.

President Barack Obama delivers a statement to the press on the economy, in the East Room of the White House, Nov. 9, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

President Barack Obama delivers a statement to the press on the economy, in the East Room of the White House, Nov. 9, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

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Honoring Veterans Day, Captain Todd Veazie introduces himself as the new Executive Director of Joining Forces. As an active duty Naval Special Warfare officer with 26 years of service, Captain Veazie will join First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden in this national initiative to provide support to service members and their families