The Freedom Riders were a group of people, both white and black, who decided to test the Jim Crow segregation laws in the South. Many states in the region prohibited the mixing of whites and blacks in certain situations in public. For instance, blacks were not allowed to eat with whites in restaurants, and had to use different bathrooms and drinking fountains.
The Freedom Riders felt that the segregation laws were wrong, so they decided to take them on by riding buses together. This violated Southern states’ Jim Crow laws on segregation, which mandated that blacks could not sit in designated white-only sections. The Riders were stopped at several points, beaten by angry white mobs, and arrested by local police departments and charged with violating Jim Crow laws.
This violated their rights on multiple fronts. Specifically, it violated the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution, which guarantees equality under the law. Everyone is supposed to be treated equally, but under Jim Crow laws, blacks were treated as second-class citizens. Even if a bus originated in the North, where blacks were treated equally, they were not supposed to allow mixed-race seating if they crossed the border into Southern states. This also violated the principle that all the states are part of one country, and that states should not have the right to take away the equality of citizens. The United States Constitution is considered the law of the land, but in the South, Jim Crow proponents felt that states had the right to supercede the Constitution, even if it violated others’ civil rights.
In conclusion, the Freedom Riders bravely fought segregation, even at the expense of their health and safety, and their Constitutional rights. Their efforts gained worldwide attention, and were an integral part in helping the Civil Rights Movement.