As the civil rights movement grew in the southern United States, racists attacked a “Freedom Ride” bus near Anniston, Alabama. The white mob shot out the tires and threw smoke bombs into the vehicle. The trapped occupants were attacked with sticks and many people were injured by flying glass. Some were beaten as they escaped. Doctors at the local hospital refused to treat the wounded.
After enduring more beatings in Birmingham and hearing of more attacks planned in Montgomery, the riders decided to abandon the ride. Other riders soon took their places, however, and the Freedom Rides continued. The Freedom Riders challenged the status quo by riding interstate buses in the South in mixed racial groups. Their efforts helped break down the barrier of segregation.