Worthington Libraries staff members anticipate a busy, monthlong run for the Freedom Riders exhibit set up on the main level of Old Worthington Library, 820 High St.

Freedom Riders explores a little-known grassroots movement and explains how the selfless actions of 400 black and white Americans in 1961 laid the groundwork for some of the most important civil-rights legislation in our nation's history.

With the Freedom Riders exhibit comes a number of related programs that kick off next week. All sessions start at 7 p.m. at Old Worthington Library, unless otherwise indicated.

On Oct. 2, Ric S. Sheffield will discuss the promises made and not yet kept in the name of civil rights and social justice. Sheffield, a professor of legal studies and sociology at Kenyon College, will also share the lessons learned from the work of those committed to both.

Learn more about women's contributions to the civil-rights movement on Oct. 4 from Tiyi Morris, author of "Womanpower Unlimited and the Black Freedom Struggle in Mississippi" and associate professor of African American and African Studies at Ohio State University.

The McConnell Arts Center, 777 Evening St., will hold a screening of the PBS documentary "Freedom Riders" on Oct. 10. Both harrowing and inspirational, the 2011 movie will be introduced by Columbus civil-rights activist Bishop C. Joseph Sprague of the United Methodist Church, who participated in the Freedom Summer of 1964 in Jackson, Mississippi.

In the mid-1960s, the Lowndes County Freedom Organization was formed in Alabama. On Oct. 11, Hasan Jeffries, an associate professor of history at Ohio State, will explain how the all-black, independent political party -- the original Black Panther Party -- affected the black-power movement.

Through dramatic narrative and images, professional teaching artist Annette Jefferson will bring to life the true stories of civil rights activists, such as Homer Plessy, Claudette Colvin, John Lewis, Rosa Parks and others, on Oct. 15.

For more information about the programs listed or the Freedom Riders movement and legacy, go to worthingtonlibraries.org.

Freedom Riders is a traveling exhibition developed by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in partnership with AmericanExperience.

Major funding for the traveling exhibition was provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Hillary Kline is a communications specialist for Worthington Libraries.