Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice

Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice,' by Raymond Arsenault
Bound for Glory
Review by ERIC FONER

The recent death of Rosa Parks refocused national attention on one of the most beloved figures of the civil rights movement. But without the heroism of thousands of unsung grass-roots activists, the movement would never have accomplished what it did. In "Freedom Riders," Raymond Arsenault, a professor of history at the University of South Florida, rescues from obscurity the men and women who, at great personal risk, rode public buses into the South in order to challenge segregation in interstate travel. Drawing on personal papers, F.B.I. files and interviews with more than 200 participants in the rides, Arsenault brings vividly to life a defining moment in modern American history.