American Experience has chosen 40 student Freedom Riders who will travel the original bus route of the legendary civil-rights activists who used public transportation to challenge segregation in the South in 1961. The students reflect the original Freedom Riders group, PBS said in a statement today (April 7): They are culturally diverse, come from 33 states and the District of Columbia, and attend various schools from community colleges to the Ivy League. All were selected through an essay competition with nearly 1,000 entries. From May 6-16, they’ll retrace the route of the original Freedom Rides from Washington, D.C., to New Orleans, accompanied by filmmaker Stanley Nelson, several original Freedom Riders and others along the way. Nelson’s “Freedom Riders” premieres on PBS on May 16.