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We are not Afraid and We Shall Overcome: The Freedom Rides and Courage

45 min

Walk-In-The-Shoes Questions
As you read, imagine you are the protagonist.

  • What challenges are you facing?
  • What fears or concerns might you have?
  • What may prevent you from acting in the way you ought?

Observation Questions

  • How was the Freedom Riders’ identity different from that of passengers on other buses?
  • What was the Freedom Riders’ purpose in riding into segregated areas of the country, where they knew they would face violent opposition? Why would they subject themselves to discrimination and brutal attacks just to ride a bus?
  • Why did Freedom Riders continue to venture into segregated cities after the first few rides resulted in grave injuries to those on the buses?

Discussion Questions
Discuss the following questions with your students.

  • What is the historical context of the narrative?
  • What historical circumstances presented a challenge to the protagonist?
  • How and why did the individual exhibit a moral and/or civic virtue in facing and overcoming the challenge?
  • How did the exercise of the virtue benefit civil society?
  • How might exercise of the virtue benefit the protagonist?
  • What might the exercise of the virtue cost the protagonist?
  • Would you react the same under similar circumstances? Why or why not?
  • How can you act similarly in your own life? What obstacles must you overcome in order to do so?
  • Students will evaluate Freedom Riders’ courage during the integration of interstate bus travel.
  • Students will analyze how courageous acts can promote equality.
  • Students will apply their knowledge of courage to their own lives.

Student Handouts