This movie is based on the book The Freedom Writers Diary by teacher Erin Gruwell who wrote the story based on Woodrow Wilson High School in Los Angeles, California. The movie is also based on the District of Columbia program called City at Peace. The title is derived from the term “Freedom Riders” that referred to the multiracial civil rights activists that led to the U.S. Supreme Court decision ordering the desegregation of interstate buses in 1961.
Transcript from The Freedom Writers
Ms. G? Can I read something from my diary?
That’d be great.
Who is he?
Man, he’s been with us from freshman year, fool.
What’s his name?
I don’t know.
This summer was the worst summer in my short 14 years of life. It all started with a phone call. My mother was crying and begging, asking for more time as if she were gasping for her last breath of air. She held me as tight as she could and cried. Her tears hit my shirt like bullets and told me we were being evicted. She kept apologizing to me.
I thought, “I have no home. I should have asked for something less expensive at Christmas.”
On the morning of the eviction, a hard knock on the door woke me up. The sheriff was there to do his job. I looked up at the sky, waiting for something to happen. My mother has no family to lean on, no money coming in.
“Why bother coming to school or getting good grades if I’m homeless? The bus stops in front of the school. I feel like throwing up. I’m wearing clothes from last year, some old shoes and no new haircut. I kept thinking I’d get laughed at.
Instead, I’m greeted by a couple of friends who were in my English class last year. And it hits me, Mrs. Gruwell, my crazy English teacher from last year, is the only person that made me think of hope. Talking with friends about last year’s English and our trips, I began to feel better.
I receive my schedule and the first teacher is Mrs. Gruwell in Room 203. I walk into the room and feel as though all the problems in life are not so important anymore.
I am home.