Well the civil rights pilgrimage has finally come to an end! It was absolutely the best spring break trip I've ever had! I was able to reflect on so much after this trip. Our last few days were spent in Little Rock, Arkansas and Memphis, Tennessee. In Little Rock, we visited the Little Rock Central High School which is where the Little Rock Nine attempt for racial integration in the school occurred back in 1957. This was one of my most anticipated stops on our trip. While walking up the steps of the school, I could just imagine and hear the taunting and shouting of people who didn't want you to enter the school simply because of your skin color. It really made me think about how grateful I am for those who have came before me and suffered so much for so many things we often take for granted like the ability to drink from any public water fountain or be able to sit in any seat on a public city bus. Even when we visited the Voters Rights Museum, it reminded me of a conversation I had with my mother before this trip. She had asked me is I was going to be voting in the Chicago primary and I replied "no" because I always had the perception that all (or most) politicians were evil and corrupt and therefore I didn't see the point in voting for this election. However she told me that many people suffered in the past so that I could have the privilege of being able to vote. She was exactly right & we learned that at the museum. Black people had to undergo very difficult tests just to be able to vote and the fact that that is no longer an issue is something to be truly grateful for.
After Little Rock, we left for Memphis, Tennessee. Apart from Atlanta, Memphis was definitely my other favorite stop on this trip. I loved the liveliness and friendliness of the people on Beale Street. I also had a very reflective moment while we were at the Lorraine Motel, where Dr. King was assassinated. It was there that history changed forever. It really made me think that even though so many people can be against you, you can still achieve so much in a non-violent way. Of course, the battle against racism and discrimination is still something that needs to be addressed but because of the work of great civil rights activists like MLK and Rosa Parks, progress has definitely been made in the United States.
This trip reminded me that someone actually shed blood, sweat and tears (literally) just so that I could be able to live a better life today in this day and age and I will be forever grateful.On a final note, I really enjoyed this experience of traveling to the South and learning so much about the civil rights pilgrimage with so many wonderful people! This is an experience I will never ever forget!