Freedom Ride's 50th anniversary marked at Sydney University

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It's been 50 years since students from the University of Sydney embarked on a historic Freedom Ride through western New South Wales. The bus is heading west again to honour the legacy of the original movement.

On February 12th 1965, 29 non-Indigenous students boarded a bus with Aboriginal leader and rights campaigner Charles Perkins.

Inspired by the Freedom Riders of the American Civil Rights Movement they embarked on a journey through western New South Wales. Their mission- to expose racism and segregation.

"It's a tremendous event in the history of Australia," said Michael Spence, Vice Chancellor of Sydney University.

"It was really for many people the beginning of a wakening up to what was going on in their own country."

Fifty years on, the original Freedom Riders have gathered at Sydney University to retrace their historic journey.

Over the next few days they'll travel by bus to Dubbo, Walgett, Moree and Kempsey.

As they toured Western New South Wales in 1964, many of the students were confronted and shocked by what they saw.

Incidents of violence between the students and locals in Walgett and Moree drew international media attention.

"I think it was a rude awakening for some of the students," said the NSW Aboriginal Land Council's Roy Ah-see.

"Today's re-enactment would...bring back a lot of memories for them."

Filmaker Rachel Perkins said the journey was a personal one.

"I think the freedom ride for me personally reminds me about what you can do and what these people did," she said. "You don't think you have the power to change it but you do."

 

 

Source NITV News

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