Campus News

Undergrad gets a seat on PBS’ ‘Freedom Ride’

JoyEllen Freeman, a sophomore in the Honors Program, is one of 40 college students selected to participate in the 2011 Student Freedom Ride, a civil rights history bus tour sponsored by PBS’ American Experience history series. Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1961 Freedom Rides, the May 6-16 trip kicks off in Washington D.C., and covers eight Southern states.

Freeman and other students on the tour will document their experiences through blogs, online videos and other social media. They will visit historically significant sites and meet some of the original Freedom Riders.

“Participating in the 2011 Student Freedom Ride is a chance for me to perpetuate a legacy and retell a story that changed America forever,” said Freeman, who is from Alpharetta. “The 2011 Student Freedom Ride is a way to remind America that ordinary college students played a role in transforming the racial inequality in our country. It is through their sacrifice that we are able to enjoy the freedom of today.”

The Freedom Ride provides a unique opportunity for Freeman to connect-on a personal level- with her current research work in the apprentice program of UGA’s Center for Undergraduate Research ­Opportunities. She has been working under the guidance of English professor Barbara McCaskill, co-director of the Civil Rights Digital Library.

“JoyEllen is a perfect choice for this very special program,” said David. S. Williams, associate provost and director of UGA’s Honors Program. “She is well-versed in the background and history of the civil rights movement through her undergraduate research experiences, and she is utterly dedicated to the interests of equality and justice.”

The 2011 Student Freedom Ride is being held in conjunction with the broadcast premiere of Stanley Nelson’s film, Freedom Riders. The film, which is partially based on Ray Arsenault’s book, Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice, will air May 16 at 9 p.m. on PBS.