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.