National Archives at Kansas City

Press Release: January 27, 2014

National Archives at Kansas City

Freedom Riders Documentary and Discussion at the Black Archives

For More Information Contact:
Kimberlee Ried, 816-268-8072

Kansas City, (MO)…On Saturday, February 22 at 2:00 p.m. the National Archives, in partnership with the Black Archives of Mid-America and the University of Central Missouri’s Center for Africana Studies will host a screening and discussion of the film, Freedom Riders. This film will be screened at the Black Archives located at 1722 East 17th Terrace, Kansas City, Missouri.

Attracting a diverse group of volunteers, black and white, young and old, male and female, secular and religious, northern and southern, the Freedom Rides of 1961 took the civil rights struggle out of the courtroom and onto the streets of the Jim Crow South. Freedom Riders tells the terrifying, moving, and suspenseful story of a time when white and black volunteers riding a bus into the Deep South risked being jailed, beaten, or killed, as white local and state authorities ignored or encouraged violent attacks. The film includes previously unseen amateur 8-mm footage of the burning bus on which some Freedom Riders were temporarily trapped. The film was taken by a local twelve-year-old and held as evidence since 1961 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The Freedom Riders film is a part of the Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle documentary film set. It is made possible through a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of its "Bridging Cultures" initiative, in partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. Visit for more information or contact Dr. Delia Gillis, Project Director at

Following the screening a panel of speakers will answer questions related to the film topic. Speakers include: Sharon Sanders Brooks, former Kansas City Councilwoman and Missouri State Representative; Dr. Bonita Butner, Associate Professor and Division Chair, Educational Leadership, Policy and Foundations, University of Missouri-Kansas City; Michael Patton, retired educator, Kansas City, Missouri School District; Dr. Gregory Streich, Professor of Political Science at the University of Central Missouri and author of Justice Beyond "Just Us:" Dilemmas of Time, Place, and Difference in American Politics and Urban Social Capital: Civil Society and City Life.

To make a reservation for this free program email Local residents who participated in the Freedom Rides and other civil rights activists will be recognized at the event. Light refreshments will be provided.

The National Archives at Kansas City is one of 13 facilities nationwide where the public has access to Federal archival records. It is home to more than 50,000 cubic feet of historical records dating from the 1820s to the 1990s created or received by nearly 100 Federal agencies. Serving the Central Plains Region, the archives holds records from the states of Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. The facility is located at 400 West Pershing Road, Kansas City, MO 64108. It is open to the public Tuesday - Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for research, with the exhibits open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 816-268-8000 or visit us online.

The Black Archives of Mid-America serves to collect and preserve the history of African Americans in the Midwest. The collections, educational programs, research services, and special projects facilitate both scholarly inquiry and public understanding of African American history. For more information call 816-221-1600 or visit

The University of Central Missouri’s Center for Africana Studies is located on the campus of the in Warrensburg, Missouri. The mission of the Africana Studies program is to develop scholars who will teach, research, and understand the experiences of people of African descent throughout the world. For more information call 660-543-8620 or visit

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LPM/LE-RM 14-007

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