Monday, March 28, 2016

Civil Rights Pilgrimage: Recap

The CRP finished yesterday and I have to say I am sad that it has finished. As taking part in the planning, however, I am glad that this trip finally came to life and that the people on the trip enjoyed it.

These experiences are indeed unforgettable. From Greensboro to Memphis, we were able to lift the veil off hidden parts of the Civil Rights Movement. In Greensboro, we learned about the heroic Greensboro four. Four young Black men who decided that segregation in public facilities should no longer be the norm. In South Carolina, we visited the Mother Emanuel AME church where months before white supremacy killed 9 people only because of the color of their skin. The experience in the church was surreal. Being there reopened fears of hate that continue to exist in this country, but also a sense that there is always a community to support in times of need. I think it shines a light on some elements in our society that have failed to reach everyone: peace and love for humanity. Yes, we are all complex beings with complex backgrounds but sometimes we forget to realize that we are humans living among one earth. We all strive to have one thing: to be happy in the one life we are living. Unfortunately, different systems of oppression continue to plague and damage communities in the U.S and across the globe. I thank this trip for making these injustices aware to me again.

Our travel to revisit the legacy of Dr. King also brings new elements. Dr. King was inspirational, he was a leader, someone people could look up to for support. Dr. King makes up a very critical and important part of the civil rights movement but Dr. King is not THE civil rights movement. The Civil Rights movement was Dr. King, the SCLC, SNCC, CORE, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children. The movement was everyone who believed that systems in the Jim Crow South denied U.S citizens their right to dignity. I am moved then by what we learn in Birmingham, through the Children's March and by all the innocent lives lost to racism and fear of change. Our eventual visits to Montgomery, Tuskegee, Selma, Little Rock, and Memphis brought to life not only more details to the CRM but also to different local histories and how they helped shape a movement and generations to come. Lessons learned from this trip are very applicable today as communities of color continue to fight against systematic racism, environmental racism, gentrification..the list goes on.

Our experience in Little Rock with the students of UW-Eau Claire allowed me to see how many people do no understand some of the major problems in this country. For my peers and I, issues of segregation and lack of school funding has been very prevalent within our lives. Our experience with education was an experience many students in our group were first coming to hear. Unfortunately, this case is too often true all over the country. It is easy to belittle someone's struggle when you haven't been in their shows. It is easy to shut down an experience that is not yours and act like the world is a happy place just because it provides you with every opportunity you could dream of. This world however is not available to everyone. I am glad we had the time to discuss education with our groups so they could at least begin to understand the problems within education in the U.S today.

I finish off with our experience in Selma. It is a very powerful experience as we go through the National Voting Rights Museum,  the Slavery and Civil War Museum, the Brown Chapel AME church and walking over the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Voting was never an important matter to me until I had my experience in Selma. I could care less about it--probably because I did not know the power I obtained with just simply casting a vote or the history behind voting struggles. Now voting has become extremely important to me. Blood was shed for the right to vote and it is no longer right I believe to let that struggle go unnoticed. I no longer feel comfortable thinking that at one point I saw voting as pointless. People in past generations engaged in vicious campaigns so that people like me did not have to feel vulnerable within the U.S political system. I have the right to cast a vote and intent to do so as long as I live. The slave simulation was a powerful experience because it shows us a little of the danger and damage of the experience of enslaved Africans. Racial injustice in the Black community is rooted within this experience and we can not ignore it by saying it was a long time ago because the repercussions of those actions are still felt today.

I want to thank all the people who took a part in this trip. The people on this trip have also made it a memorable experience and I am glad to have heard from various perspectives on the trip. This trip is profound and amazing, I recommend anyone who can to do so and take a trip to better understand a movement, and come to the realization that the fight is not over here in the U.S and across the globe. As Dr. King once said, "a threat to justice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere."


Brianna Rainey's post

Two emotions that I felt during this trip are : enjoyment and surprised. I was surprised at the amount of "foot soldiers" that go unnoticed in the discussion of the Civil Rights Movement. Although the monuments that we have visited have recognized and celebrated a variety of people who took part in the Civil Rights Movement, on a national scale only a handful of people are recognized. I know that every person who participated can no always be listed however I feel as if our textbooks and class settings should do a better job at recognizing that this movement was propelled by regular people around the country. I felt enjoyment from the various people on the trip that I had a conversations with to described our feelings on the trip.

Earnest Lucious' post

Two emotions I've felt on this trip so far are enlightened by learning about the different types of struggles felt during the Civil rights movement and the different representatives of the different groups of people that were affected by the movement on both the side of the protesters and activists, and the law enforcement and government keeping in place the oppressive status quo against which activists protested; and appreciative of the sacrifices made and that are continually being made by activists from before the civil rights movement period all the way through to current social issues in order to secure an equal future for me, my peers, and future generations.

Justin Young's post

Favorite take away was the slave simulation. It was a great experience to go through what some of the slaves would have experienced.

Makeda Granger's post

Today was one of the most emotional days. I felt scared during the slavery simulation. I tried to imagine what it was like to be in those circumstances but there is no way to imagine it to its fullest extent. Seeing the hanging bodies and two of the students with the rope around their neck was surreal. It made me feel hopeless and angry. While in the museum, even though I had heard about the girls at the church bombing, today when I saw their pictures I felt like crying and while in the park I did cry a little bit while reflecting on everything I saw. Walking through the stone dogs made me scared and angry that people would unleash these dogs on others especially children. I keep asking myself if I would have gone through everything they did, the water hoses, being beat, attacked by dogs, etc.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Fredie Toussaint's Post: Alabama

First we got travel to the National Voting Rights and Institute Museum. It was very powerful. The pain that Dr King and the Foot Soldiers and Soldiers for justice endured on bloody Sunday and up until the passage of the voting fights of 1965 is something that needs to stay near and dear to us. Our RIGHT to vote MUST be exercised and used for those who fought. I realized the importance of voting and after this we went to one of the most interactive, chilling, yet so powerful museums, The Slavery and Civil War museum. We were taking a tour and immediately treated as slaves as apart of a stimulation. We traveled through the slave boats, were able to experience the feeling of fear and anxiety of the inhumane treatment many slaves felt and our tour guides vast array of passion and knowledge really helped us to realize what a detrimental time in history this was. The experience was intense, but I'm so grateful for it. I know that many ancestors who endured this had it way worse and that i was extremely privileged just from this one experience. My heart is heavy for the realization but this part of the tour has by far been my favorite. To be submerged within the culture is immeasurable.  After this museum we got to walk across the Edmund Pettis Bridge, the actual bridge where Bloody Sunday and the march from Selma to Montgomery occurred. This is something i will never forget. Today has by far been one of the greatest days & i'll never forget it.

-Fredie Toussaint

Day 6: Selma, Alabama

I can't believe that it's already Thursday! This week has been going by so fast and it has been amazing. Yet, after today I feel like there is way more that I need to learn. We started off our day with a  Footprints to Freedom tour.  Here we learned about the Selma-Montgomery march and Bloody Sunday.  After the tour we then left to march on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. It is hard to believe that Civil Rights protesters were beaten by attempting to do the same. Once we crossed the bridge, we then loaded onto the bus and headed to Birmingham.

At Birmingham we toured the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. We also had the opportunity to look at the 16th Street Baptist church. Sadly, the church was closed so we were unable to go inside. Yet, we saw the memorial that was outside of the church in honor of the four little girls that died in the church bombing.  There was also this park that had structures that told the story about Project C. On how the protesters had to endure firefighters hosing them down and police dogs.

Once we got to the hotel we settled in and formed into our discussion groups. Today we talked about the similarities and differences between the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Lives Matter Movement. This was a great conversation to have because I was able to listen a lot of interpretations. Yet, it did leave me feeling that I should research more into both movements.

I am looking forward for tomorrow but we have to wake up at 6:00 a.m!! We will be on the road to Little Rock, Arkansas and I can't wait to see what's in store.


Two emotions that I have felt so far on this trip were despair and frustration. I feel despair and sadness towards the victims of the Civil Rights Movement who were tortured and have lost their lives for the cause of equality: the people who knew the risks and were willing to set aside their fear to endure the suffering so black people could have a better future, and the people who were innocently in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

I was frustrated when I saw that white people were being so cruel towards black people for no particular reason other than a difference in skin tone. Their ignorance and hateful pride angers me to the core. How could anyone be that evil, and a better question: how could so many people do such evil things and think it's okay?

Another emotion I felt was shame. I am proud of who I am as an individual person but learning how awful white people were really made me ashamed and guilty. The white race has so much to be sorry for yet we really aren't, and the more I learn about how terrible white supremacy was, the more I want to make a change and make sure the future doesn't consist of such violence and hatred. 
Two emotions that I felt during this trip are : enjoyment and surprised. I was surprised at the amount of "foot soldiers" that go unnoticed in the discussion of the Civil Rights Movement. Although the monuments that we have visited have recognized and celebrated a variety of people who took part in the Civil Rights Movement, on a national scale only a handful of people are recognized. I know that every person who participated can no always be listed however I feel as if our textbooks and class settings should do a better job at recognizing that this movement was propelled by regular people around the country. I felt enjoyment from the various people on the trip that I had a conversations with to described our feelings on the trip.

Amber Shields blog 3/24

Two emotions I felt during this trip are excited and serious. I felt excited because I finally got a chance to do hands on events that shows me how things were in history. Movies can only show so much, but it's the hands on feeling that makes me happy I received the opportunity to attend this trip. I take my culture very serious, especially when it comes down to my history. Today Mr. Sam Walker walked us through the dehumanizing captured slave event. Going through that experience, I felt fear. I heard the screams of my ancestors. I was someone else's property, I was only a number and not a name. If I can round up thousands of students and allow them to experience that I would because people can't see how bad something is until they experience it. It's really sad!

Eboni Bradley Day 5 and 6

I enjoyed going to the church for Day 5. Our tour guide was the most vibrant and spiritual person and you can feel it in every word that she said. From us singing together to us holding hands in prayer the whole tour was delightful. Then going to the musuem with the water table and being able to learn about some of the unsung heroes in the Civil Rights movement and then being able to add my name to the wall of others who have visited and have decided to stand up for injustice was definitely an honor!
Day 6 has been the most realist experience that I have had all trip! Going through the slavery simulation was both intense and unrealistic. To be have a set range of emotions and to realize that what I sent through in the simulation was not half as bad as what really happened was crazy to me but I felt that I learned alot from it. Everything that happened there gave me a new perspective of the things I've learned this far and how much others had to go through to get me to where I am now. Then being able to walk the bridge where the Selma to Montgomery marched started was another perspective that I gained. Just being able to get a living experience of marching across that bridge and imagining it being filled with thousand of people of different race fighting for one cause was a beautiful thing.

Amber Shields thoughts 3/23

Yesterday we visited the freedom riders museum. When it comes down to voting, I do witness a lot of people not voting because they do not believe in Politics. It's the matter of control and whether or not our vote will count. I also don't believe in Politics, but I still vote because people fought for my rights to do so. I was not educated about the Freedom Riders until now. There are parts of history that is not taught in school, and it leaves many students ignorant.

Mariya Kovalchuk's post about Tuskegee and Monterey

After being in Alabama for the past 2 days I have experienced so much rich culture and history! First of all, I heard two amazing speakers provide me with insight about the Civil Rights Movement. Dr. Lafayette talked about his experiences and taught me about what non-violent protest means, which is an idea I am only beginning to explore here on the Civil Rights Pilgrimage. Dr. Lafayette talked about training police officers and how many police officers as well as participants in the Civil Rights Movement got trained to mentally learn how to not respond with violence. I found this super interesting because this in not an easy tactic for many and I would like to research more about how the idea of non-violence is used today.


Also, hearing Attorney Gray speak I was amazed at all the experiences he has had working with Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. It was at this time that I also learned a lot about the Syphilis study and this was absolutely shocking to me. I also learned about the story of Henrietta Lacks which I could not believe when I heard it. Being a student in nursing on a day to day basis I am constantly learning about ethics and what it means to respect patients and how to advocate for them. Therefore, hearing about how no health professional helped any of these individuals is horrible for me to hear because I cannot even imagine working in an environment where no individuals advocate for their patient. It was definitely interesting for me to hear about how human rights within healthcare have changed and how I can advocate for human rights within my future career. 

 Being exposed to Tuskegee University was a great opportunity for me on this trip. It was a very different environment from the University of Illinois and being able to compare the schools and see how the universities differ was a great experience. Sometimes I get stuck in the mindset that every school is like the University of Illinois and seeing that all universities are different was a refreshing experience. Today in Montgomery was an amazing experience at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church with out tour guide Wanda. Seeing the church Martin Luther King Jr. preached at was amazing and Wanda made it the best experience ever. Wanda was very positive, gave us a great history of the church, and made sure each and every one of us felt like with our education we could make a difference in the world.


Today was a day in which I got exposure to many different parts of history. All the museums we went to were very specific and covered specific topics. We started off in Montgomery, Alabama being able to tour the state capital. Next we got to visit the original Greyhound bus station that was part of the Freedom Rides. Being in the actual station and hearing the story about how so many students risked their lives and went to jail in order to gain civil rights made me feel inspired about these youth that were around the same age and me and how I can also fight for rights that I believe in.


 Later going to a museum in which the martyrs of the civil rights movement were shown I learned a lot of knew information. This was very eye opening for me today because these are individuals who I have never heard of before, but that had a huge role in the civil rights movement. Many of these individuals were physically hurt and and abused. These individuals led the movement and I think it is very important that others are more educated about these brave individuals that lost their lives in order to help gain civil rights for those around them. Also, learning about the march from Selma to Montgomery, seeing more information about this within the museums, and seeing the actual road from Selma to Montgomery really showed me the determination of those in the Civil Rights movement. Seeing the actual road showed me how much physical and emotional pain these Civil Rights participants had to go through. However, from listening to many amazing speakers and seeing so many wonderful museums which contained so much knowledge I realized how much the Civil Rights movement actually achieved. The day ended with some tasty barbecue and with me reflecting on how the education I received in the past few days should be included in our education system here in the United States.

Day 5: Montgomery, Alabama

We woke up to a beautiful day in Montgomery, Alabama. We started off our day visiting the capital building.  After touring the capital building, the U of I Civil Rights Pilgrimage had a performance today at the Dexter Avenue Baptist  Church. This was the church where Dr.King served as a pastor for six years.  And before we began our tour, our tour guide had us sing the song "This little light of mine." It was a lot of fun to sing together and it definitely perked us all up! At the church we were able to see Dr. King's office and look at the mural that was painted in the church. 

Once we left the church, we had lunch and then proceeded to the Freedom Rides Museum. At this musuem we learned more about the Freedom Rides Movement. This was a movement created in order to integrate the bus stations in the south. So what the freedom riders set out to do was to travel deep into southern states and attempt to integrate both African Americans with Caucasians. What I found most interesting was that students from the University of Tennessee continued the Freedom Rides Movements! At one point, the freedom riders decided to not continue any further so that is when the students stepped in to continue the trip. I also learned that the state governor of Alabama refused to listen to the president's order of sending troops to protect the freedom riders. Our tour guide told us that the Caucasians had a 15 minute grace period in which the can attack and beat the riders. It was only after 15 minutes when the police officers and troops would come. 

After the Freedom Rides Museum, we headed to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). At the SPLC, we watched a video about victims of the Civil Rights Movement. On how these individuals had their lives taken and how we should remember them because their deaths contributed in the movement. Once the movie finished, we had a small discussion with our tour guide where we discussed about some injustices that occur today. Something that I liked about this musuem was that they had this Wall of Tolerance. And visitors would take the pledge to stand against hate, injustice and intolerance. All of us took that pledge and our names were added onto the Wall of Tolerance. I am very positive that all of us are going to live up to that pledge and make a difference in the future!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Day 4: Tuskegee, Alabama

 Sorry for the late post! I was very tired yesterday but this is what I wrote for day four.

 Today we had the opportunity to listen to Dr. Bernard Lafayette who was a civil rights activist. He was a key leader when it came to helping African Americans gain the right to vote. Lafayette also emphasized that when the Freedom Riders dismantled, it was him along side other University of Tennessee students that continued the trip. During that time, Tennessee had already been successful in integrating buses and restaurants. So Lafayette and his peers knew that integration was possible! I was truly inspired to listen to such an accomplished individual. His story motivated all of us to find something that we truly care about and begin to address it. He told us that life is short, so within our lifetime we should be making a contribution in this world. 

After listening to Dr.Bernard Lafayette, we headed to Tuskegee University. There we were able to eat their dining hall food along with getting a tour of the school. During the tour,  I was able to learn about George Washington Carver. Prior to the tour, I do not recall ever learning about George Washington Carver. His devotion to research to alternative crops was extremely impressive! 
Once we left Tuskegee University, we then went to the Tuskegee Multicultural Center. At the Tuskegee Multicultural Center we were able to meet and listen to Attorney Fred Gray! This was incredibly awesome because he made a huge contribution during the Civil Rights Movement. He was  Martin Luther King Jr 's first Civil Rights Lawyer. And he defended Rosa Park's during the bus boycott movement and fought for integration. 

Overall today we had the opportunity to listen to such inspiring leaders! They have truly inspired me and left me contemplating on what will my contribution be to this world. Once I return to campus, I will seek the resources and training needed to begin my development as a leader!


Today we were in Montgomery, Alabama. We started off at the State Capitol which made me uncomfortable since it glorified the Confederacy so much, especially the people in power who had a significant role in the violence involved in the Civil Rights Movement. My attitude changed once we went to the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. The tour guide, Wanda, was probably the best tour guide I have had. Her passion for the church and the Civil Rights Movement in general was truly inspiring. She is one of those people who gleams positive energy and passes it along to everyone she meets. She reminds me of all the prominent people who lead the Civil Rights Movement. They all, especially Dr. King, had such a passion and an extreme drive to accomplish equality for all that they would stop at nothing and even give their lives for the cause. It wasn't even just adults, but children, too, who were devoted to achieve equal rights. I think that we need more people today like Wanda who is a leader and can bring a group together to make changes. I don't think the Movement is done, I think that we should still be working towards equality.
I really enjoyed our time in Tuskegee. The campus was beautiful and had a rich history to it. In the morning I enjoyed Dr.LaFayette's talk which allowed us to see very briefly into his own experiences during the civil rights movement. It was incredible to hear how his involvement then influenced his decisions later to continue to fight for civil rights in the u.s and around the world. He has and will always be dedicated to the tactics of nonviolence. However, I do think we should talk about tactics outside of this one that other people have used. Revolutions/movements come in various shapes and forms and should be given the same validity and other movements we honor. Talking with attorney Fred Gray was also incredible! Being in the same room was unbelievable! He will have a long lasting legacy within the movement. We are now in Montgomery, let's see how it goes!

Eboni Bradley Day 3 and 4

Day 3 and 4 have held the most impact on me during this trip. Going to the National Center for Civil Rights and being able to do the simulation of a African American sit-in was a speechless for me. The feeling that I got from sitting in that chair for a minute or two was haunting and to know that the individuals who did the actual sit-ins were there from two or more hours was really mind blowing. I do feel like I've gained alot from the written knowledge inside of each museum but what I go from that simulation I will never forget.
Next, going to Tuskegee University and being able to learn their history and to get the feeling of being at a HBCU was a new experience for me. Just looking around and see so many others that looks like me and understand my standpoint in this world was amazing because we don't get that at University of Illinois. Also, being able to meet and hear from Dr. Lafayette and Attorney Grey was remarkable. To be able to listen to individuals who stood, helped and represented other individuals in the civil rights movement was an honor because many people won't get this chance in their life time. The knowledge I recieved from them and their stories will also be a part of this trip I will never forget.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Malcolm Smith's post

So far on the trip, a lot of the museums have focused on non-violence and non-violent leaders.  I believe this is the case because those tactics have been effective in producing results in government.  However, after multiple discussions, I am now interested in learning more about groups who did have violent tactics and figuring out why those groups are not portrayed as much in the history books.  

Mariya Kovalchuk 's post

Today was a day in which new information and facts kept flowing. When steeping foot onto the King Center, history really came alive for me. Seeing the home Martin Luther King Jr was born, walking into Ebenezer Baptist Church, and seeing the neighborhood in which so much sacrifice was made gave me the feeling that history actually happened right in the spot that I am standing today. For me, seeing where Martin Luther King Jr and Coretta Scott King are buried was amazing because it provided me with a moment of inspiration about all the change that has been made and can be made with the efforts of our generation.

Also, being in the National Center for Civil and Human Rights I had some very powerful experiences. Taking part of the simulation and listening to the individuals yelling at me through the headphones sounded way too real for me. It was painful to hear those voices and even though there were no visuals I felt as though I could almost visualize and see who was yelling at me. It was terrifying and it made me experience what individuals were treated like and how much yelling and stress must have put on these individuals. Also, going through the rest of the museum and seeing images from the Civil Rights Movement including fire hoses being used to hurt civil rights activists, images of sit-ins, and actual documents written by Martin Luther King Jr gave me more knowledge about the order of events and how different events led up to one another.

 Being in the museum it was also very interesting to see information about Civil Rights and Human Rights all over the world ranging from malnutrition, to child labor, to sexual assault, and many more topics. Basic human rights are not granted to everyone all over the world and it is making me think about how as an individual living in the United States I can reach populations all over the world. Also, in the conversation tonight with Dr. Bailey Iearned a lot of new information and really enjoyed the group discussion.  The topic of movements with violence and nonviolence made me think about the Civil Rights movement in a new way. This concept is something I have not learned about much before and these are ideas I would like to think about more on the trip. 

Monday, March 21, 2016


Today we were in Atlanta, Georgia, and visited the Martin Luther King Jr. Center, which is located in King's hometown. We first went to the museum part of it, which I thought was interesting but relatively small. I liked the timeline they had displayed of the significant events in King's life. With all the information that has been thrown at us within the past couple days, it was nice to see the information in an organized display in order to absorb it easier.

We got to see Dr. and Mrs. King's tomb which sat in the middle of a fountain. I thought the flame across from the tomb was a nice symbol representing the constant effort towards a better life for all. It was an unexplained feeling being in his hometown, in front of his actual tomb. You can feel his presence almost, especially in the Ebenezer Baptist Church. In this church, there weren't many artifacts or museum cases, but in the church there was a recording of King speaking. There were photos of him surrounding the entrance, and as we sat in the pews in silence, listening to the recording, I felt as if I were actually in the same room as him.

My favorite museum that we have attended so far, though, and the one that had the most impact was the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. I loved the massive amount of information they gave not only on segregation and MLK, but about human rights in general. I started off in the human rights section, which was definitely an eye opener. To see that many people around the world not only had suffered in the past, but still continue to suffer today really makes you realize the true evil that exists in this world. I am grateful for the life I live today, but I also feel extremely guilty.

The civil rights section was on the first floor, which I thought was just as great, if not better than the International Civil Rights Museum. Most of the displays were interactive, which I thought made it easier to take in information. The "test" to see how long you can last in a simulation of a sit-in really made me realize how terrible people were when it came to segregation. I thought the room dedicated to King's death was interesting. I watched the video of the reaction to the news of his death and his funeral. The streets were filled with his supporters mourning his death. I couldn't imagine the sadness they felt that day and still do. I wonder what would be different if he had lived a longer life.

                                                                Day 3: Atlanta, Georgia 

Today we woke up to a chilly morning in Atlanta! The hotel manager told us that we are bringing the cold weather from Illinois down here to Atlanta. I am starting to believe that is true because we have not had a day with warm weather! On the bright side of today we were able to eat some hot breakfast.  After breakfast, we went to the King Center where we were able to see Dr. King's house, tomb and church. Unfortunately, we were unable to tour the inside of his house, but we did manage to take some pictures of his house!

Once we left the King Center we then had some free time in downtown Atlanta. We had the opportunity to go to the Georgia Aquarium, Coke Museum, Olympic Park, or tour the CNN building. I was not sure where to go so I decided to hang out with the two facilitators of the program Maria and Ronald. Eventually, we decided to hang out in Olympic park and check out the Coke Museum store. I was ask my facilitators more on what they are studying and what was it like planning the Civil Rights Pilgrimage. The amount of work that they had to do to plan the Civil Rights Pilgrimage amazed me! They are both sophomores and they contributed a great amount of work to the trip. After listening to them about being a facilitator, it interest me to try to become one for next year.

The best part about today was visiting the National Center for Civil and Human Rights! This by far has been my favorite museum on the trip! It was very interactive and it had an abundant amount of information that started from segregation in the past to current issues that society is facing today. This museum had this Greensboro sit-in simulation where we had to sit on these stools and listen to a recording of  threats that African Americans had to endure. This simulation was only a minute long and I was having a hard time remaining calm. We had headphones on and there were so many insults and enraged people just kept on yelling louder and louder. I was already showing fear from listening to a minute of these insults. It deeply sadden me that this is what many African Americans had to endure on a daily basis.

Lastly, we ate dinner at Paschal's and I found out that this restaurant hosted many of the Civil Rights planning meetings. After dinner we returned to our hotel were we had a discussion on what are our thoughts about the musuem so far. Today was a great day and I sure am tired! We have a full day ahead of us tomorrow and we have to be up bright an early. I'm definitely looking forward for tomorrow!

Day 2 and 3 Thoughts

Charleston was a quick stop! I thought it was moving to attend service at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church, and that they seemed in good spirits and overcoming the tragedy they endured last summer. The congressional civil rights pilgrimage attended the service as well, and one member that stood out was John Lewis (a very influential civil rights leader). After the service we walked around Charleston, took some nice pictures, and a large group of us went to Kickin' Chicken for lunch which was very delicious.

We then traveled to Atlanta and a large group of us went to Cascade at night when we arrived at the hotel after our first discussion. The next morning/today we had the busiest day yet, but I loved every part of it! We started at the King Center where we got to explore the wonderful museum, the church MLK attended as a child, and his childhood home. We then had some free time and a group of us were able to see both the CocaCola museum and tour the CNN headquarters. The CNN tour was fantastic, and I felt I got the inside scoop on how they produce news.

Finally, we ended at my personal favorite museum yet, the International Civil Rights Museum. They had a simulation of a sit in protest, and it was more powerful then I expected. It sounded like someone was yelling/whispering in one ear and then the other, and it almost felt like your chair was shaking (even though we had just watched the people go before us and it was just sound from headphones). I know many trip participants were amazed at how difficult it was to endure just 1min 40sec of what these protesters endured for so many hours and multiple days. I also loved becoming more informed about other civil rights struggles internationally because there are so many parallels between the civil rights movement in the US. We ended with dinner at Paschal's, which I recently learned was used to plan many civil rights events. Overall, such a great day!

Grace Asiebgu's post from the first day

I am so excited for the rest of this trip!! The bus ride was treacherous, but it's well worth it. My favorite part of Greensboro had to be visiting the NCAT campus. I have a special place in my heart for HBCU's, and learning about the Greensboro Four was eye opening and informative. I liked the Greensboro Historical Museum's contest the most because it was so expansive and the building is incredibly beautiful, but I didn't like our tour guide 😅

Going to Emanuel AME was actually a really emotional experience for me (and probably many others). To know that I was standing in the same room where this tragedy took just gave me chills. And it was just incredibly humbling that these people who don't know us--despite the tragedy of the past summer--were so warm and welcoming. I loved it. 

Brief introduction: 
Hi, I'm Daisha and I am a junior majoring in Psychology, interested in focusing on mental health in the Black community as well as children. The reason I wanted to participate in the Civil Rights Pilgrimage is to receive hands on learning experience concerning African American History. While I have visited a couple of places on the itinerary, after taking some classes I am interested in seeing how my perspective will have changed. It will also be intriguing to connect the stories I have been told with their settings. 

It is 2am and after traveling approximately 12 plus hours from Chicago we have finally made it to Greensborough, NC. Tomorrow or today actually begins the pilgrimage as we will be going to the International Civil Rights Museum, the Greensboro Historical Museum and North Carolina A&T University. I am most excited about going to the museums and absorbing as much as I can. I also look forward to being on an Historically Black College/University campus and seeing the differences between a Predominantly white institution as an African American student.   

Written on: March 19th 
This trip has been amazing thus far and it's only day two! I really enjoyed the National Civil Rights Museum in Greensboro, North Carolina because it was really inspiring to see what a difference four young people could make. As a freshman, that is truly encouraging and makes me want to continue to voice my opinions and fight for change in order to better the world around me. 
~Nia Gipson
The trip so far is great and very inspiring. I enjoyed the service this morning at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church and the museums have been great. I can't wait to  see what is to come

-Jocelynn Hopkins
The first couple of days have been very enjoyable. We've gotten a chance to see some interesting pieces at the museums such as the wall of activists names and the descriptors of the four young men who sat in at the segregated restaurant. I found the Confederacy memorabilia a bit unsettling though. I also wish that we had more of a chance to see the Civil Rights movement outside of nonviolence. There were more militant groups working throughout the period as well, but we haven't covered them yet. I hope pieces aren't left missing, but we've only just begun.

Marquis Hayes

Chelsea Jones's post

My favorite place so far has been Emmanuel AME, it was amazing to see how the congregation has overcome the tragedy of last summer. I found myself continuously thinking of the shooting during the beginning of the visit and service, but one the preacher started getting into it I stopped thinking about it. I liked learning about the Greensboro 4 because I never knew about them and it was exciting to walk the streets they walked. It was also cool to see the many others faces of the civil rights movement.

Amy Devitt's post

Yesterday in Greensboro, I thought it was really neat to see the authentic counter that Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil, Ezell Blair, Jr., and David Richmond sat at 56 years ago. Watching the videos and reading about the event is one thing, but actually being where they were makes their story affect me so much more.

This morning in Charleston, I am so glad we were able to attend a service at Mother Emanuel AME. Going into the church, my heart was very heavy as I was thinking about the horrific massacre that took place just 9 months ago, but after experiencing the joy and spirit that the congregation had, I was able to leave content knowing that the people of Emanuel AME were no longer in a valley, but instead had overcome to be on a mountaintop.

                                                                Day 2: Charleston, South Carolina
Today we attended mass at the Emanuel AME church. It was Palm Sunday and the mass was really beautiful. They had a lovely choir that sang with full passion. During mass the pastor made a comment about the date June 17 2015. She talked about how despite the tragedy they still prevailed. At the time, I was unaware of the event that occurred in the church. After doing some research after church, I found out that a mass shooting occurred within the church on June 17, 2015. The shooter killed nine civilians and discovering that this tragedy occurred within a church left me in utter disbelief. Yet, it left me admiring the strength that the church members still held.

After mass, we were able to look around in downtown Charleston. We ate at this local restaurant called Kickin' Chicken. I had the Italian Kickin'

Chicken sandwich and it was so good! If you decide to eat here you all should definitely get the macaroni and cheese. It was pure cheesy goodness! Once we finished eating we browsed through some stores and took phenomenal pictures.

Now we are at Atlanta, Georgia and we have a lot planned out for us tomorrow. I am very excited to see what is in store!


This morning we went to the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. I didn't really know what to expect since I had just heard about the shootings that had happened last June. The secret service being there was pretty intimidating, especially when they checked our bags. I was told that about 5 congressmen were there. I'm not entirely sure if the church normally has this much security, considering the shootings, but I feel that it made some people uptight. Despite the tragedy, it seems that most people were in good spirits, or at least made it seem that way. I kept thinking about what I would do if I were in that church that day, or what I would do if that was one of my family members or friends that had their lives taken. The pastor kept most of my attention, though, with her passion and charming personality. I'm not used to lively services such as this one, and I wish that the masses at my church were this interactive. Everyone participated in singing and dancing and were attentive during the readings. If I lived in the neighborhood, I think I would regularly attend this church because of the community-like feeling it brings.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Eboni Bradley Day 1 and 2

The first and second day have been such an eye opening experience. From learning about new people and concepts to attending church this morning I have grasp a new outlook on civil rights and whose job it is to make sure everyone obtain these rights. The International Civil Rights Museum showed me the uncovered truth on aspects of the civil rights movement and balancing what happen back then to being in a church that recently experience racial violence was really unreal. Then being able to hear the different mindsets of the other individuals in my discussion group really brought forth new ideas about the civil rights movement in connection to the injustice happening now and I am very excited to see what tomorrow will bring us!

3rd day traveling so far by Amber Shields

Today was really a shocker for me. Attending the AME church service gave me a feeling I can't even explain. It was hard trying to picture how someone even got the chance to murder nine people. Greensboro, North Carolina was very nice. Learning about history at the International Civil Rights museum was one of my favorites because history is so deep. The second museum we attended in Charleston, South Carolina got out of hand. The tour guide made me feel uncomfortable with the things she was saying. Otherwise, I am really having a good time so far.

Dajun Xu's post first discussion

It is a bit tiring for us to travel so long distance within 3 days. But it is really worthwhile to visit a very different part of America. The church service in Carleston is the most impressive experience to me. It is surprising that how the African Americans contribute their musical talents to the holy cause. The things in international civil rights museum also inspire me of promoting the things to my Chinese friends  

Terrell Shaw's post from the first discussion

As of now, I am getting everything I expected out of the trip. Year after year, I spent time in classes where we talked about the things that happened during the Civil Rights period. Just as I said in my interview, seeing things for yourself and getting the story told directly is a way better experience than just hearing about it. This is THE most interesting field trip I have ever been on in my entire life. With just two days under my belt on this trip, I expect to learn a lot more over the next week.


These past two days have been a real eye opener. I've learned about a lot of things in history that I've never known anything about. When you think about the civil rights movement, the first names that come to mind are MLK, Rosa Parks, or Malcolm X. You never hear those background people who've made an even larger impact as they have. Such as the four gentlemen who started the Sit-in movement and Bayard.
-Anonymous :)a

Lorianna Anderson's post from the first discussion

I've really enjoyed my experience on the trip so far. Going to the museum in Greensboro and seeing the actual lunch counters where they started the lunch counter sit ins was amazing. South carolinas downtown was beautiful, and it was my first time seeing an ocean view so that was amazing.

Malcolm Smith's post from the first discussion

It's been an exciting first few days! I have never been to the southern states before, so it has been interesting just exploring new places.  My favorite part so far has been the church service at Mother Emmanuel.  The fact that services are packed even after the tragic event last summer shows the resilience of the church and the members, and it was truly inspiring.  During the civil rights movement, churches played critical roles, such as gathering places for organizing marches and sit-ins, so actually being in one was a very cool experience.

Malcolm Smith

Joseph Davis's post from first discussion


So far I think that the trip has been informative. It was nice to actually see places in person that I have heard about through school and personal research. I think the Greenboro four is the part of the trip that stood out to me the most at this point. They were the group of people that I was least familiar in terms of their names, so getting the back story to the young men that started sit-ins was a great experience. Also the service at Mother Emmanuel AME was a great addition to the trip. It's always interesting to me to fellowship with people from the other areas of the country and get a chance to a experience one of the more serious parts of their culture. With that being said, I would say so far so good. 

Joseph E. Davis

Student | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

NABJ UIUC President 

Mariya Kovalchuk's post from 1st Discussion

 So far this has been a fantastic trip! Before this trip I knew not very much about the civil rights movements in our country. This trip is definitely exposing me to a lot of new information. Through the museum visits, movies, and traveling from state to state I have found that there are so many different stories that have stayed alive from the civil rights movement. Going through the museum tour it gives you a feel and knew knowledge about what the sit-ins were like and what sacrifices people all over America made. Being in the Mother Emanuel church today was amazing! Being invited to watch a religious ceremony that was so deep gave me the amazing commitment individuals have to their faith and how this faith has kept them working to keep civil rights alive even today where racism and injustice still lives on. This has been the beginning of a new learning process for me. I still have a ton to learn but just this exposure is educating me and inspiring me through the power of each individual's courage and actions. 

Kaitlin Pineda's post from 1st Discussion

I have been ambivalent about this trip after these past two days. My understanding of the trip was that it was going to be an in depth exploration of the Civil Rights Movement, yet, for the past two days, I feel as though quite a lot is missing from this journey. What started out as a trip that encompassed every corner of Civil Rights history is slowly turning into a journey exploring one aspect of it: the pacifist/peace activist aspect. While I understand that their involvement was a great part of the movement, it was not the only part nor was it perfect either. Also, as a side note, associating Gandhi with the Civil Rights Movement is infuriating because he hated black people just as much as the white in the south. Dr. King might have been inspired by his tactics but Gandhi would not have reciprocated such admiration. 

The movies don't help either. A lot of these movies have this white savior complex that defeat the goals that modern black activists have fought against. Yet again, I understand that the point of these movies is to understand various facts of the Civil Rights Movement and the context behind it but it should also be acknowledged that these movies are Hollywood movies, meant to be feel good movies about racism.

The faint glances at the Black Panthers has also been problematic. We've watched a video about Bayard Rustin, an man who was actively anti-Black activist, who, after retiring from activism, fled to the conservative side of politics.

This is all I have to say for now. It's how I have been feeling and I hope that this feeling changes for the better 


I have learned so much already in the short 3 days since the Pilgrimage has begun. I was excited to learn about, and hear other stories than the MLK story. Although he was important in the movement I know that he was not the only one and I'm still looking forward to learning about those other people involved. I'm actually interested in learning about the other side of the civil rights movement and not just those who believed in non-violence, but it seems to be a theme on this trip. However, I enjoyed the International Civil Right Musuem, as well as the trip To NCAT and church service this morning. I enjoyed learning about those 4 boys who did the sit in. This was a story I never knew about. It was exciting to be in such a historical like NCAT. I'm really enjoying seeing all these new places/southern culture I have never experienced before. I'm looking forward to see what else this trip has in store and all the thing I will get to learn and places I will get to see. Can't wait to experience Atlanta!

Thoughts so far

These first three days on the road have been exciting and enjoyable, save for those stiff bus seats! I've learned much about the Greensboro Four among various facts about African-American history. So far my favorite activity has been spending Sunday morning in the very lively Mother Emmanuel AME church service. I'm excited to learn more in ATL and I'm ready to take it from here!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Greensboro Thoughts

We had a packed day, but it was worth it!

Crafted was this delicious taco place we stumbled upon/saw was the 5th best restaurant in Greensboro from Tripadvisor. I got a Hoodie (falafel taco) and Big Truck (mac and cheese and pulled pork taco) with sweet potato chips, and I'm still talking about how good they were. 

After our speedy lunch we headed to the International Civil Rights Museum. This was probably one of my favorite parts of the day because we got to see some really cool exhibits and get some great infomation on the timeline of the Woolworth diner sit in protests. I felt empowered hearing about how four college students planned this in their dorm room and it spread like "wildfire" throughout the south. The protests led to the end of segregation in Woolworth and other public areas in Greensboro. I think I remember reading only a couple sentences about this in my textbook during high school, so I appreciated more background. We also later were able to take a picture with a statue of the four organizers at the North Carolina A & T Campus.

Another thing that stuck out to me was the Greensboro Historical Society. This stop was still interesting and informative overall, but unfortunately there were some things presented in a way seemed to justify actions of slavery. For example, the tour guide highlighted a story about a slave who ran away to be kept together with her family and not given to another owner in a different state. After turning to a quaker, the quaker worked out an agreement with her slave owner that she could stay with her family. I don't remember her exact words, but the tourguide implied that the slave was "lucky". She also repeatedly explained that the Union went easier on North Carolina because they were one of the last states to join the confederacy and really didn't have a choice. I absolutely don't believe these were intentionally meant to offend, but it shocked me that these subtle justifications of slaveowners because of what is ironically seen as "compassion" or the justification of actions taken by the confederacy are still used by tourguides in museums.
Day 1: We started off our day with lunch! My friends and I went to eat at the Crafted: The Art of the Taco.  We all highly recommend that you go eat there because their tacos were superb delicious. Afterwards, we toured the International Civil Rights Center & Museum. I leaned about who were the  Greensboro Four. I don't remember learning about them in my history class. This really surprised me because they were four college students who attended the North Carolina A&T University who started a peaceful demonstration!! They began a peaceful sit-in at a local restaurant to fight for their right to eat there. Even though they were denied service they continued to come to the restaurant day after day. Their action inspired other university students to join in and thus a movement was created. Learning about this really inspired me that as a college student we are capable of making a difference in our community. If you want to learn more about them please watch, February One: The Story of the Greensboro Four.
The next museum we visited was the Greensboro Historical Museum. There we learned about the development of the city of Greensboro. 
Lastly, we went to the North Carolina A&T University where we had a discussion with Professor Art Davis about how we can address mass Incarceration.
Now we are settled at Charleston, South Carolina the weather is so nice!  I can't wait to see what's in stored for tomorrow! 
This is at the Crafted: The Art of the Taco.
Here we are at North Carolina A&T University. We took
a picture in front of the Greensboro Four statue. 

Day 1-Greensboro

Today was a packed day. We are back on the road headed to Charleston.

Here are my thoughts on the day:

We started out with lunch. I had fabulous fish tacos. YUM!

Then we visited the International Civil Rights Institute and Museum. After some issues at the museum they finally got us in for a fabulous tour. The part that always hits me hardest is the "Wall of Shame" where they have photos of some of the worst things imaginable including a lynching, Bob Zwerg after he was attacked on thr Freedom Rides, and the raw photo of Emmitt Till after the brutal attack against him. Those are the things we like to believe America is better than. At least I like to believe that we can be better than that. However I know that these incidents have morphed into slightly different yet eerily similar forms of violence today.

Next we went to the Greensboro Historical Society.  This museum is beautiful and packed with information.  Unfortunately we had a tour guide who chose to call a KKK robe beautiful and that was hard to hear from someone who I think really believes she is on the right side of history fighting for good.

After that, we headed to the North Carolina A & T campus. We were able to take a photo with the statue of the 4 students who organized the very first lunch counter sit in.

After that, we had the pleasure of sitting in for a lecture with Political Science professor Art Davis, where we brainstormed our solutions to mass incarceration. It was inspiring to think of the concrete solutions that we all can be working toward.

Lastly we had one more meal before getting on the bus. I see lots of happy faces tonight on the bus so I believe today was a success.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Terrell Shaw being interviewed on WCIA's Current

Terrell Shaw being interviewed on WCIA's Current:

Thursday, March 17, 2016

My Thoughts Before the Trip

I decided to go on the Civil Rights Pilgrimage because my friend couldn’t stop talking about it after she went, and it seemed really well planned out with tons packed in. Also, I don’t think I would have the chance to take a course like this while at college if it wasn’t for this trip.

Out of the cities we are traveling to, I have only been to Atlanta. I’m especially looking forward to meeting Dr. Bernard LaFayette and going on a tour of Little Rock Central High School because these are amazing opportunities.

Another aspect I love about this trip is getting to know everyone! Not to brag about how awesome these people are, but we dominated the name game and learned around 50 names at our first meeting. I thought I would share this fun fact: Xochitl and I are actually second time roommates because we were went on the Leadershape Institute together. Some of my roommates and I grabbed lunch at Panera last week to talk about the trip, and we couldn’t be more excited!