The freedom riders have suffered from many misconceptions and distortions about their role in the civil rights struggle. In the movie The Ladykillers, Tom Hanks describes the Freedom Riders to a young black man as a group of concerned northern liberals who came to Mississippi in 1964 “so that people like you could have the vote.” He not only got the year wrong, he also missed the fact that very few of the riders were northern liberals—although the northerners were the ones who got the publicity and the plaudits.
There is an 80 percent chance that later in this century a megadrought will plague the American Southwest for decades, according to a study released by researchers at NASA and at Columbia and Cornell universities. The drought will be caused by reduced precipitation and changes in evaporation rates. The researchers say other factors, such as the El Niño weather pattern, could interrupt long periods of severe drought. The researchers say there is time to reduce the factors contributing to climate change (Washington Post, February 12).