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On the 11th day of the ride, two buses left Atlanta one hour apart. Freedom Riders were on both buses, along with regular passengers.
When the first bus crossed the Alabama state line, it was soon surrounded by an angry mob organized by the Ku Klux Klan. In the small town of Anniston, Alabama, approximately 200 men set out to teach the Freedom Riders a lesson.
Using metal pipes, clubs and chains, the crowd attacked the bus, smashing windows and denting the sides. After 15 terrifying minutes, the driver was able to pull away, but he quickly realized someone had slashed the tires.
Panicked, the driver went for help, abandoning the bus and its passengers. Then, something crashed through a window which set the bus ablaze. With their lungs filled with smoke, Freedom Riders and their fellow passengers spilled out onto the grass—and into the hands of the angry mob.