© Paul Schutzer, 1961, Montgomery, Alabama

'A Freedom Rider sleeps at a safe house, his copy of Dr. King's Stride Toward Freedom close at hand.'

It’s mid-spring, 1961. In the kitchen of a safe house in Montgomery, Alabama, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is tense. In the house with the 32-year-old civil rights leader are 17 students — fresh-faced college kids who, moved by King’s message of racial equality, are literally putting their lives at risk. These are the groundbreaking practitioners of nonviolent civil disobedience known as the Freedom Riders, and over the past two harrowing weeks, as they’ve traveled across the state on integrated buses, their numbers have diminished at every stop in the face of arrests, mob beatings, and even fire-bombings.

» see pictures of Martin Luther King, Jr. here «