Caldwell Fellow embraces chance to meet Freedom Riders

May 4, 2011
By Bill Krueger
Doaa Dorham with some her fellow Freedom Riders

Doaa Dorgham with some of her fellow Freedom Riders

Doaa Dorgham will make her appearance on Oprah Winfrey’s show today, but the greater thrill for her was being around some of the show’s other guests. All 197 of them.

Dorgham, a junior psychology major from Raleigh and a Caldwell Fellow, is one of 40 students from across the country chosen to take part in the 2011 Student Freedom Ride being organized by PBS to promote an upcoming documentary, “Freedom Riders,” on the 1961 Civil Rights bus rides.

The 2011 Student Freedom Ride is bringing a select group of current college students and some of the original Freedom Riders together on a bus that will retrace the 1961 trips. The journey begins Friday in Washington and will take Dorgham and the others through seven Southern states.

Dorgham met some of the original Freedom Riders when 197 of them gathered this week to tape Oprah’s show.

“It was amazing to be in the same room as 197 of the original Freedom Riders,” Dorgham said by email. “After interacting with the original riders, I have a new found sense of optimism and courage. It is evident that one never really knows where they are going unless they understand their past, and the Freedom Riders have done just that for me.

“I now have the new found energy and obligation to continue the legacy of the Freedom Riders.”

Dorgham and the other student riders appeared briefly on the show, in a 30-second video.

“But Oprah said my name … that was pretty cool!” Dorgham wrote.

Dorgham will be writing about her experience during the bus ride. You can follow her through Twitter (@doaa_dorgham).

dorgham-150x1503Dorgham is a Palestinian American who was born in Kuwait. She has traveled throughout Latin American and the Amazon as part of the Caldwell Fellows program. Dorgham is also the outreach chair for the Muslim Student Association at NC State.

The Caldwell Fellows program is an intensive leadership-development scholarship program that was created by the Alumni Association to honor the legacy of Chancellor John T. Caldwell.

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