Blackside producers interviewed a number of activists not found in the history books and who had never spoken publicly about their roles in the Civil Rights Movement. One example is Fred Leonard a participant in the 1961 Freedom Rides. The Freedom Riders attempted to integrate interstate busing in the south.
Frederick Leonard was with the Freedom Riders when they were attacked by an angry mob at a Montgomery, Alabama bus station in 1961. Leonard was a freshman at Tennessee State University in Nashville at the time. He escaped serious harm in the incident in Montgomery, but other riders were not as fortunate. The Freedom Rides were organized by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). The strategy of the rides was to have black and white passengers ride into the Deep South on interstate buses and challenge the segregation of the bus stations in the region. Segregation in interstate public offices had been outlawed by this time, but several states in the South were refusing to change. Leonard describes the dramatic events of that day. Several clips from Leonard's interview appeared in the third episode of Eyes on the Prize and a number of the show's producers rank the interview as one of the best conducted for the series.
Information for this biography was gathered from the following sources: