Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART)

Students Get on the Bus to Freedom Riders

In honor of a WEDU special screening of Freedom Riders at the Tampa Theatre on April 13, HART is proud to sponsor a Tampa Civil Rights History Bus & Walking Tour to Hillsborough Community College students.


A HART bus will pick up students at the HCC Ybor Campus and Clarence Fort, a local community activist, will lead students on a tour of more than a dozen sites to learn about Tampa's Civil Rights Movement. Sites include St. Paul AME Church, Mount Moriah M.B. Church, F.W. Woolworth, Morrison Cafeteria, Tampa NAACP Office, Central Avenue, Howard W. Blake and Middleton High Schools, among others. The history tour will end at the Tampa Theatre in time to attend a WEDU special screening of Freedom Riders at 7 p.m. In addition, the Tampa Theatre was the site where a protest occurred because of its "Whites only" policy.


Mr. Fort has first-hand knowledge of Tampa's Civil Rights Movement. He led several sit-in demonstrations in Tampa during the 1960s and started the local Martin Luther King Parade in 1988. He remains active in local African American affairs, and will encourage students on the tour to achieve higher education, understand the power of knowledge and be innovative.


Freedom Riders is the powerful story of six months in 1961 when 400 Black and White Americans risked their lives by traveling together on buses and trains through the segregated southern United States. The film is directed by Stanley Nelson and features testimony from Riders, federal and state government officials, and journalists who witnessed the Rides firsthand. The film is based on Dr. Raymond Arsenault's book Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice. The film's special screening at the Tampa Theatre includes an introduction and concluding question-and-answer session with Dr. Arsenault and Freedom Riders.


The WEDU special screening of Freedom Riders is free and open to the public.


HART is a proud sponsor of various educational efforts that highlight the significance that transit played during the American Civil Rights Movement. During Black History Month in February, HART sponsored It All Started on a Bus to promote the importance of equal access to public transportation.