The Dover Public Library is sponsoring a series of films and personal appearances to mark the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

When the Freedom Riders, a mixed racial group of civil rights activists started their nonviolent protests against segregation in 1964, they knew they would face harrowing challenges.

The Riders rode interstate buses throughout the South to challenge local laws and customs that enforced segregation. As a result, many were greeted by hateful mobs of Ku Klux Klan members who called them names, spit in their faces; beat them with bats, bricks and pipes; and nearly killed them. Additionally, the Freedom Riders peacefully sat at local luncheonette counters, met in churches with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and marched in picket lines, culminating in the abusive arrest of each and every participant.

Two of the people who took part in these history making protests, James Brown and Dolores Finger Wright, will be at the Schwartz Center in Dover to tell their stories at 7 p.m. July 2.

The Schwartz Center is located at 226 S. State St., Dover.

The event is sponsored by the Dover Library.

The Civil Rights Act is an historical piece of American civil rights legislation that outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It ended unequal application of voter registration requirements and racial segregation in schools, at the workplace, and by facilities that served the general public, known as public accommodations.

The July 2 celebration is free, and all are invited to attend.

 In addition to “The Freedom Riders,” the library will be showing the following powerful documentaries followed by discussions with civil rights scholars: 

July 9 – “The Abolitionists, Parts 1-III”

July 23 – “The Abolitionists, Parts 1-III”

Aug. 20 – “Slavery by Another Name”

Aug. 20 – “The Abolitionists, Parts 1-III”

Sept. 3 – “The Loving Story”

Sept. 17 – “The Freedom Riders”

For more information about the dates and times of the film showings, contact Michelle Hughes at the Dover Public Library, 736-7030, or visit