Would you get on a bus to defend your ideals, even if it meant encountering violence? Fifty years ago, more than 400 ordinary Americans did. By 1960, two US Supreme Court decisions had ruled that requiring racial segregation in interstate travel was illegal. But the rulings were largely ignored in the South. To challenge this status quo, the Freedom Riders performed a simple act. They traveled into the segregated South in small interracial groups and sat where they pleased on interstate buses. The Freedom Rides began on May 4, 1961, with a group of thirteen Riders recruited and trained by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). By the summer, the Rides had evolved into a broad-based movement involving hundreds of activists from local, regional, and national civil rights organizations. Attracting a diverse group of volunteers—black and white, young and old, male and female, secular and religious, northern and southern—the Freedom Rides took the civil rights struggle out of the courtroom and onto the streets of the Jim Crow South.