Monday, March 24, 2014

Days One, Two, and Three

So far, the civil rights pilgrimage has been amazing. Speaker after speaker and exhibit after exhibit seems to keep getting better and expanding my knowledge of the civil rights movement. Our first day was spent in the beautiful city of Greensboro, North Carolina. Aside from the local vendors and beautiful city blocks, Greensboro offered key insight into a piece of the civil rights movement. The International Civil Rights Center and Museum was an amazing resource and introductory experience to start off the trip. The center gave us a general overview of the civil rights movement and major figures involved. Our tour guide, Brandon, was very funny and was able to place certain comedic twists when appropriate and made the exhibit come alive. At the end of the museum, Brandon talked to us about the mural of Barack O’bama’s face, and also pointed out that on the mural there were blanks that were meant for our own faces, because we are all able to make a difference in current social policy. This conclusion to the center was extremely encouraging and inspirational. I loved starting out the trip with the very broad and general overview of the time period which will give us a foundation for the remainder of the trip. 
After we left the museum, we made the short trip to the Beloved Community Center where we learned more about the history of Greensboro and the tragedy that hit in 1979. I was surprised when I realized that although the International Civil Rights Center and Museum was located in Greensboro, there was no mention of the tragedy in the exhibit. It was meaningful to learn about a more obscure event in history that seems to be glazed over when talking about the civil rights. It was so inspiring to hear about the event from a first-hand witness and it made it all the more raw when thinking about the horror of the attack. 
During our time in Atlanta, my favorite part of the day was spent at the Ebenezer Baptist Church and the King Center. I had never attended a predominately all-black baptist service, and it was so inspiring to witness the immense love and passion for faith. I had grown up in a somewhat contemporary church, but I was blown away by the amazing sermon given. The real-world connections were eerily relatable to current events and they really made me think about the way I perceive the poor and homeless. After the service, I explored the original Ebenezer Baptist Church and the Kind Center. I’m a huge fan of women in history, and I loved the large part of the exhibit dedicated to Coretta Scott King. There was a very explicit timeline of her life, and it was interesting and inspiring to learn about all of the amazing things Coretta had done before and after MLK was in her life; she is truly an inspiring woman. 

And finally, my favorite part of today was listening and learning from Dr. Hill and the Reverend. Reverend talked about how learning should be less about from the pages of a textbook and more about using your senses to gain a greater understanding. This struck a chord in me because I realized that attending this trip is doing exactly that. By attending this trip, we are undoubtably learning more about the civil rights, but by experiencing hands-on we are enhancing our learning experience and building a more meaningful knowledge base. So far I’m blown away by the experiences thus far and am very excited for the rest of the week. 

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