On May 4, 1961, the first group of 13 Freedom Riders boarded interstate buses in Washington, D.C., and traveled through the Deep South, bound for New Orleans, to defy Jim Crow laws that enforced segregated travel. Of the 13 Freedom Riders, seven were white. In Alabama, they were attacked by an angry mob of segregationists who were aided and abetted by southern police. Their buses were firebombed.
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