RIP Civil Rights Leaders

(Above: ‘John Lewis: Good Trouble.’  Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures)

In honor of Friday’s passings of Rep. John Lewis at 80 and Rev. C.T. Vivian at 95, the 2010 documentary Freedom Riders is now streaming free on and the PBS Video app. You can also honor Lewis’ legacy by renting the new bio-doc John Lewis: Good Trouble.

Lewis and Vivian were two of the more than 400 black and white Freedom Riders who, for six months in 1961, journeyed together on buses and trains through the Deep South in open defiance of a segregated interstate travel system. Freedom Riders, a two-hour American Experience film, includes first-hand testimony from both Lewis and Vivian.

“During the making of Freedom Riders I had the honor and the pleasure to get to know and interview John Lewis and C. T. Vivian,” said filmmaker Stanley Nelson. “They were true heroes who put their lives on the line to create positive change in the world. The lives of so many, including mine, were forever altered by their heroism. It is important for all of us in this moment to take up their legacy and push for real systemic change. May they rest in peace and power.”

Nelson won an Emmy Award for his Writing, and Freedom Riders also won Emmys for Exceptional Merit and for Picture Editing.

John Lewis: Good Trouble, which debuted earlier this month, can be streamed for $6.99 from Amazon, Google Play, YouTube and other sources.

The 96-minute doc explores Lewis’ 60-plus years of social activism and legislative action on civil rights, voting rights, gun control, health care reform, and immigration.

About Les Luchter

Les Luchter is a former managing editor of Multichannel News, editor-in-chief of Cable Marketing, and news editor of Broadcast Week.

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