For as long as I can remember I've been fascinated with the Civil Rights Movement. I deeply admire every single person that ever shed blood or even simply passed out flyers during this period. Because of them I was able to go on a trip across the country with students from all backgrounds and am able to live my life the way I do every day.
Being an African American Studies major I hear about the places we went almost every day, but today in class David Barr III came to speak with us and described how some of these places have inspired some of his art. You could hear the inspiration in his voice and I wanted to cry because I knew exactly what he was feeling.
I wish I could pick 'the highlight of the trip' but for me it was all better than I expected. I still cannot believe that I was inside the house that Dr. King grew up in, that I walked the halls (even if it was just the entry way) of Central High in Little Rock, that I walked across the Edmund Pettis Bridge, went to the Southern Poverty Law Center, and saw with my own eyes where Dr. King was shot and where the shot came from.
I have always wondered who the people were that legally handled modern day civil rights cases and I found them in the Southern Poverty Law Center! I have always felt that I need to do something to destroy discrimination and I will definitely be looking into working for this organization.
All of the places listed above were great but they would not be relevant had it not been for the wonderful people we had the pleasure of meeting. Mary Louise Smith was jailed for refusing to give up her seat prior to Rosa Parks and it's thanks to her that I was able to go on this trip! Mr. and Mrs. Graetz sacrificed so much and put their family's lives at risk so that I can walk down the street and live my life in peace! Ms. Ella Bell is improving schools so that children can have the best possible education! Ms JoAnne (but I'll stick with calling her Ma'am!!) participated in bloody sunday and the march from Selma to Birmingham and thanks to her I was able to vote for our first black President! I love the fact that she is still very actively involved in making progress and in preserving history so that one day our children will be exposed to this history. Rev Billy Kyles is encouraging people all over the country to never give up on their dreams, something that I'm sure will inspire people to get out there and change the world.
Despite the fact that our 44 personalities clashed at times, we all had some great times together and always managed to turn a negative into a positive. Despite the hours we lost on the road (we still love you Charlie!), despite the fact that we got rained on in ATL n then paid $15 for a cab to drive us 2 blocks, no one will ever be able to take away the fun we had, the information we learned, our experiences, and the friendships that were made.
January, Demetrius, Sade, Brendon, and Charles thank you soooo much for planning this trip! If I could go back and do my spring break all over I would sign up for the trip again in a heartbeat!