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Barrios and Barriers: The Tucson Civil Rights Era

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Freedom Rider Event

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE Presents Freedom Riders From award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson (Wounded Knee, Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple, The Murder of Emmett Till) comes Freedom Riders, the powerful, harrowing and ultimately inspirational story of six months in 1961 that changed America forever.

Firebombed Greyhound bus

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.

Visit the Freedom Riders website.

Arizona Public Media Presents

About the Program

A collection of personal experiences and triumphs, Barrios & Barriers: The Tucson Civil Rights Era tells the story of Tucson’s civil rights struggle during the mid-twentieth century.


Barrios and Barriers: Tucson Civil Rights Era


The Tucson civil rights movement challenged injustices that had deep social, economic and political origins. Drawn from the personal lives of some Tucson residents, this half-hour documentary tells Tucson's stories of discrimination, segregation, racism--and, in the end, of victories.

It recounts the courageous actions of groups and individuals at the forefront of change: Tucson lawyers, teachers, war veterans, coaches and students willing to take on civil rights issues at a time when it was unpopular, and in some cases illegal, to do so.

Created by Arizona Public Media producer Tom Kleespie and his production team, Barrios & Barriers: The Tucson Civil Rights Era premieres Monday, May 9 at 9 p.m. on PBS-HD.