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What to know: A beautifully told film by a middle school student about a Freedom Rider who most of us are unaware of.
HANK THOMAS: FREEDOM RIDER is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
Recommended age 7-18
12 minutes
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HANK THOMAS: FREEDOM RIDER cover image Click to play video trailer
I found the subject intriguing. Learning about a person who does not receive much recognition for his/her acts is inspirational. The presentation by Phoebe Rensink is like an oral presentation - stating the facts, but emotionally flat. The footage is mixed with symbolic photos that show the brutality of segregation.

Kids are eager to learn. To show them what happened during this time of hardship is important. They may get bored because its history and it looks like something your teacher would put on in the classroom. No matter, this title sends out a great message that addresses our differences in color or religion and how we can all live in peace. I believe kids want to experience that.

The title has a three act structure showing a brief history, going into the life of Hank Thomas, and brings you to a close. This is done well. When we witness Hank publicly telling his story it shows promise for continued peace.

It has appropriate language for this period in time. Including the "N" word which is a quote by Hank Thomas that is only used once. This is an accurate representation of the events that Thomas experienced.

The audio is choppy. It sounds as if Phoebe recorded in different surroundings which makes it inconstant. Even the recordings of Hank have some background noise but this shows the quality of sound back when it was recorded.

African American History is an interesting topic, especially when seen on film. We all know the obvious heroes of the movement - Martin Luther King Jr. and Jackie Robinson. It is refreshing to learn different stories and about different people as portrayed on the big screen.

This makes a great addition to any youth film festival, particularly during Black History Week.

This short title tells the story of Hank Thomas, a Freedom Rider in the 1960's and his heroic and often dangerous experiences during the Civil Rights movement. It is inspirational and an important part of our nations history. The material is very accurate. Especially since you get a first hand account from Hank Thomas and others who survived and made a positive difference during the Civil Rights Movement. The concepts approached are often uncomfortable, but the overall message was very positive and inspirational. Reviewed by Ely B.
This is a documentary produced by middle school students about Freedom Rider Hank Thomas and why he is an unsung hero of the civil rights movement. The video includes interview clips with Hank Thomas.
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