See a free screening of the documentary Freedom Riders tonight at the Varsity Theatre in Chapel Hill.
The film is described as "the powerful, harrowing, and ultimately inspirational story of six months in 1961 that changed America forever." It is a production of American Experience (WGBH/Boston) and is based on Raymond Arsenault’s book Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice. It is the winner of three 2011 Emmys.
The screening will be followed by a discussion with the film's producer Laurens Grant and playwright Mike Wiley. Wiley created the play The Parchman Hour: Songs and Stories of the ’61 Freedom Riders, which opens October 26 at PlayMakers Repertory Company in Chapel Hill.
Many of the freedom riders were imprisoned in Mississippi’s notorious Parchman Farm Penitentiary, where they passed the time by created a nightly live variety show known The Parchman Hour. This show was the inspiration for the play.
The film starts at 6:30, and admission is free.
The play runs October 26-November 13, 2011.