Anna Nutter '11 will experience history first-hand this week in a unique kind of road trip. Nutter was recently selected to participate in an exclusive experiential learning program called the 2011 Student Freedom Ride. Along with 39 other college students, Nutter will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the May 1961 Freedom Rides with a 10-day bus trip starting today in Washington D.C.

A history major, Nutter was chosen from nearly 1,000 applicants to participate in the program, which is sponsored by PBS.

The Student Freedom Ride will retrace the route and remember the experiences of the original freedom riders, who traversed the American South a half-century earlier. The 1961 riders were civil rights activists who rode buses across then-segregated southern states in protest of laws that segregated bus facilities and restaurants.

The original Freedom Riders faced rampant bigotry and encountered extreme violence from Ku Klux Klan members, which often halted their progress and inspired protests that erupted into further violence across the U.S.

Some of the original freedom riders, along with filmmaker Stanley Nelson, will accompany Nutter and her fellow travelers. Nelson directed the film "Freedom Riders," which is scheduled to premiere on the PBS show "American Experience" on May 16.

This article was edited for correctness after its original publish date.