Monday, March 26, 2012

Civil Rights Pilgramage

The Civil Rights Pilgrimage was an opportunity for students to visit sites of historic importance to the U.S. civil rights movement. During this trip, students had the opportunity to meet with individuals who were able to share a story or their personal story about this significant movement. As we all know there are many people who were affected and/or made an impact during this time but have not been able to share their story with many. Our students were given this chance to hear these stories to help them better understand the true importance of this movement. I did not realize how much this trip would have an impact on me and my values. I am a changed person because of this trip and I contribute this change to the people I met, the museums I visited, and the students who learned.

So many people sacrificed to make things better for the future and I am forever grateful and thankful for those who struggled to make a difference so that I can be treated fairly/equally. We visited Atlanta, Montgomery, Selma, Birmingham, Little Rock and Memphis and each place gave me a new insight about this movement but I mostly enjoyed Montgomery and Birmingham. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr was not the only person who made a difference during this era but he was the "face" for most of the movement. I continue to wonder what his thoughts were. Did he know that his words, steps, etc would change society (generally speaking) forever? Did he truly know how great of a person he was? I could go on and on about the questions I have that will never be answered but I won't.

In one of the museums I saw a photo of his father and mother taken during the funeral and that was the first time I had seen an image of them. Never had I thought about how his death affected them. Of course we think about his wife and children but I personally hadn't thought of his parents or siblings. Speaking of his siblings, it was truly awesome to hear his sister, Dr. Christine King-Farris speak at church and then to take a photo with her after the service...a highlight for me!

This trip was will leave a lasting impression on me and I am thankful to have had the opportunity to go with January Boten and the 46 students. I am in higher education because I want students to learn outside of the classroom and this trip taught students so much more than I had ever imagined and hopefully, they will use what they have learned to become a person and stand up for equality for all.

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