The documentary film “Freedom Riders” is the harrowing yet inspirational story of six months in 1961 that changed America forever. 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.
Interactive Knowledge was proud to work with PBS and WGBH’s “American Experience” to create the website that supports this powerful film celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Rides. IK acted as website developers and content creators — researching, writing and editing a wealth of stories, images and videos. An interactive map shows the bus routes and the cities of destination. Links from the map provide detailed and related information.
PBS sponsored a re-creation of the first bus trip to correspond with the “American Experience” broadcast that premiered in May 2011. The trip paired original Freedom Riders with 40 college students. When the site launched we received 1,000 online applications for the 40 spots on the Student Freedom Ride. We launched 12 web-exclusive short films that we promoted with daily Social Media posts during Black History month in February. Since launch, the average time spent on the video page was four times the American Experience average. The site quickly garnered national recognition from the New York Times and The New Orleans Times-Picayune and been nominated for several awards.