178 Freedom Riders to be on 'Oprah Winfrey Show'

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CHICAGO (AP) — Oprah Winfrey is marking the 50th anniversary of the first Freedom Ride.

Harpo Productions says 178 former Freedom Riders will be on Wednesday’s episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in one of the largest gatherings of Freedom Riders since 1961. The riders peacefully opposed 1960s racial segregation of the South.

Winfrey says she owes “a deep debt of gratitude” to the Freedom Riders. She says she knows her “life would be different were it not for them.”

Guests on the show are to include U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia and John Seigenthaler, who was assistant to then-U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy. Both men were beaten during the civil rights movement.

The episode is to be among Winfrey’s last. “The Oprah Winfrey Show” ends May 25 after 25 years.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.