On May 4, 1961, 13 Freedom Riders board two buses in Washington, D.C., hoping to reach New Orleans and planning to practice nonviolent resistance of illegal Jim Crow practices along the way. Black and white men and women of varied ages, they share a commitment to ending segregation and the courage to put themselves in harm’s way. While their first encounters are minor, as they travel south, arrests and intimidation increase, culminating in mob violence and the firebombing of one bus. The 1961 Freedom Riders helped bring conditions in the South to national attention, increasing public support for stronger civil rights laws and enforcement. Larry Dane Brimner, whose books on the civil rights era include Birmingham Sunday (2010) and Black and White (2011), presents a tightly focused, present-tense account of what happened during the May 1961 Freedom Rides. Presented on spacious pages with striking design, the many large, archival black-and-white photos transport readers back in time. While the introductory and concluding sections offer helpful summaries of four major Supreme Court rulings on segregation from 1896 to 1960 and short biographies of the 13 Freedom Riders, the heart of the book is its straightforward, concise, day-by-day reporting of the journey.

Ages 11-17.