freedom_riders.jpgWEST PALM BEACH — A national traveling exhibition that tells the powerful, harrowing and inspirational civil rights story of six months in 1961 that changed America forever will open in West Palm Beach on Monday.

Freedom Riders will be on show at the Fulton Holland Educational Services, 3300 Forest Hill Blvd., through May 27.

Organized by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and the PBS flagship history series American Experience, the exhibition combines powerful photography and news coverage of the Freedom Rides, as well as first-hand audio accounts of what was a dangerous experiment in the fight for civil rights.

A companion to the May PBS broadcast of the American Experience film Freedom Riders, the exhibition has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

From May to November 1961, more than 400 black and white Americans risked their lives, with many enduring 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 belief of the Freedom Riders, as they were known, in non-violent activism was sorely tested as mob violence and bitter racism greeted them along the way.

Freedom Riders examines the 1961 Freedom Rides from many perspectives: that of the Riders themselves, the Kennedy administration and the international community.

The School District of Palm Beach County is inviting members of the public to view the exhibition.

According to a statement, the district took the lead in implementing an African and African-American curriculum for all students and has trained teachers, staff and the community to ensure this history contributes to higher student achievement.

For more information on the exhibition, call Laurie Cotton at 561-357-1160 or visit