Thursday, November 16, 2017
Noon: Leave Campus
3am: Arrive in Charleston, SC
Stay at the Charleston Crowne Plaza, 4831 Tanger Outlet Blvd, Charleston, SC
Saturday March 17:
1:30pm: McCleod Plantation
3:30pm: Old Slave Mart Museum
5:30pm: Dinner in downtown Charleston
8pm: Discussion at the hotel
Stay at the Charleston Crowne Plaza, 4831 Tanger Outlet Blvd, Charleston, SC
Sunday March 18
9am: Church at Mother Emmanuel AME Church
After church: lunch in downtown Charleston
1pm: leave for Atlanta (dinner on the road)
7pm: Arrive in Atlanta/Discussion at the hotel
Stay at the Hampton Inn 1737 Mountain Blvd, Stone Mountain, GA
Monday March 19
10am: Center for Civil and Human Rights
11am: Dr. Bernard LaFayette, Freedom Rider, founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference
noon: Lunch at the CNN Center
2pm: King Center (MLK Birth home, Ebeneezer Baptist, grave of Martin Luther King jr and Coretta Scott King)
5:30pm: Dinner together at an Atlanta Restaurant
8pm: Discussion at the hotel
Stay at the Hampton Inn 1737 Mountain Blvd, Stone Mountain, GA
Tuesday March 20
8am: leave for Montgomery
10am: Civil Rights Memorial at the Southern Poverty Law Center
noon: lunch at the RCA Tower Cafeteria
2pm: Equal Justice Initiative
4pm: Rosa Parks Museum
6pm: Dinner at Shoppes at East Chase
8pm: Discussion at the hotel
Stay at Country Inn and Suites 10095 Chantilly Pkwy, Montgomery, Alabama
Wednesday March 21
10am: Dexter Avenue Parsonage
noon: on the road to Selma (lunch on the road)
2pm: Footprints to Freedom tour at the National Voting Rights Museum in Selma
5pm: On the road for Jackson (dinner on the road)
11pm: arrive in Jackson at 11pm
Stay at the Holiday Inn Express at 6485 Frontage Rd, Ridgeland MS
Thursday March 22
9am: Medgar Evers House
10:30am: Mississippi Civil Rights Museum
noon: lunch (at the Museum)
2pm: Mississippi History Musuem
4:30pm: On the road for Little Rock (dinner on the road)
Stay at the Country Inn and Suites, Bryant Arkansas
Friday March 23
9am: Little Rock Central High School Tour
noon: Lunch in downtown Little Rock
2pm: Mosaic Templars Museum
3:30pm: Capitol Building for photo with Little Rock Nine statue
4pm: Leave for Memphis
6pm: dinner on Beale Street
8pm: Discussion at the hotel
Stay at the La Quinta 2979 Milbranch Rd, Memphis, Tennessee
Saturday March 24
9am: National Civil Rights Museum
2pm: Slave Haven Museum
3:30pm: Stax Museum
5pm: Ernest Withers Museum
6pm: Dinner together (TBA)
8pm: Discussion at the hotel
Stay at the La Quinta 2979 Milbranch Rd, Memphis, Tennessee
Sunday March 25
6am: leave for campus
noon: arrive on campus
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
As a young activist it inspires me to keep working because we can bring change if we keep fighting.
Sunday, March 26, 2017
Going to the Lorraine Motel gave me a lot of insight of how a man could be the kindest, most peaceful, and non-violent ever and still fall victim to a hate crime. I think Martin Luther King Jr.'s death was one that was the most unexplainable. What drives a man to kill someone who is not hurting anyone? I will always wonder that; and I'll alway wonder about Jesse Jackson's role in the whole thing. But, that's another story.
The Stax Museum was also very nice. I hate that the assassination of MLK caused the fall of Stax as a record label. They had such a historic and iconic run while it lasted. I also appreciated the music that was played--I knew most of it. It was fun.
Day 1: 3/18/2017
On this day I really enjoyed the capitol tour one of the most interesting parts of this say was the realization that even the capitol was built off of slave labor it made me give so much more respect and gratitude to my ancestors. It also made me look at this work and apply it to the country as a whole knowing the work that slaves are responsible for and have a greater appreciation for it. Having the opportunity to view the MLK memorial for the first time was a great it was so beautiful. The quotes surrounding the memorial were extremely inspirational.
Day 2: 3/19/2017
On this day we visited the Frederick Douglass home. This was a surreal experience because I have read countless books on Douglass and his life story. The home and the museum were so informational being in his home gave me feelings of warmth and welcomeness. The second thing that we did on this day was visit the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. I was so excited for this and it was one of the most eye opening experiences that I have had in my whole life. Starting at the bottom of the last floor exhibit I immediately began to tear up. Although, I knew the horrors of the middle passage and what slaves went through actually seeing this in depth in the museum broke my heart. To be torn away from your family and loved ones as well as your culture and exposed to such horrendous conditions is disgusting. I was so overwhelmed with emotions. As we moved up in the museum the lights went from dark to dim we were now in the era of slavery. The emotions hit even harder for me on this stage. On the next level the abolishment of slavery was present and then on to segregation and civil rights. For me, the civil rights era was the most eye opening because it was a time in which my parents and grandparents were alive and endured. This museum showed me how far African AMericans have came and how much farther we have to go. It is ultimately my job to carry the torch my ancestors lit for us. This was my favorite day so far. Although I couldn’t explore the whole museum what I saw was amazing and I would love to go back in the future.
Day 3: 3/20/2017
I enjoyed visiting the international civil rights museum. When I realized that the museum was built around the Greensboro four sit in counter I was immediately intrigued. It was always something about sit ins that had intrigued me and seeing this made me very emotional.
Day 4: 3/21/2017
This morning we got to visit the Martin Luther King Center. The whole morning was a beautiful experience for me. Visiting the Ebenezer baptist church where MLK once preached at was amazing. We also stopped by a nearby firehouse which we saw pictures of rooms inside of Martin Luther King's house I found this very interesting. I spent my Free time at the Coca-Cola factory which I enjoyed a ton. I got to experience what It would be like to actually be in a sit in and I cried during this time. Towards the end of the day we meet with Dr. Lafayette this was so amazing. Having the opportunity to ask him questions and speak to him on his experience during the civil rights is something that I will never take for granted. He is so informed and knowledge and has done so much in the fight for equality. Having the opportunity to be in his presence was truly a gift and something I will never forget.
Day 5: 3/22/2017
Today was my first time being on an HBCU campus. I loved the vibe and environment and being in a place with so much history dedicated to the progression of african American scholars is something I will never forget.
Day 6: 3/23/2017
---I was sick and stayed in bed this day :(
Day 7: 3/24/2017
The footprints to freedom tour was one of my favorites so far. It really made me cry because it put me in the mindset of how it would feel to be a slave. Being treated in the way a slave would and stripped of identity made me think on a lot of things. One of the most impactful moments for this was the way in which the N word was used to hurt and purposely tear down slaves which made me think about its use to day and how people oftentimes don’t see it sprouting from this. The man who gave the tour was very passionate which helped contribute to my experience. The museum connected past and present and was a true gem on our trip.
Day 8: 3/25/2017
The time is going by so fast! I cannot believe that this is our last journey and my last blog. As our trip comes to an end today was one of my favorite days. On our museum trip this morning we got to go to the exact site Dr.King was assassinated. Once again I was overwhelmed with emotions because It made me wonder what the impact of additional work Dr. King could have done if it was never to happen and what part I play in continuing his everlasting legacy. The museum we visited today also shows that the fight for equality for everyone is far from finished and it is up to our youth to continue it. Following this we visited the amazing Stax records and Beale street. We also had time to look at photographs in the Ernest Withers museum which were absolutely stunning and breathtaking photos.
Thursday, March 23, 2017
Today was very inspiring and uplifting for me. The speakers Dr.Shirley Cherry and Mr.Anthony were amongst the most influential. Their speeches has empowered me to want to do more to help African Americans and others races to strive to their fullest potential. I had never heard of the Dexter church or EJI before today so I was very excited to learn about them both and would love to learn more about them.
Today was a great day. I really enjoyed going to Martin Luther King Jr.'s house 309 S. Jackson St. and it was mostly due to the very enthusiastic tour guide. I also enjoyed the other exhibits that provided some great information. I think that the last part of our day was the best with EJL because it was a great presentation of the struggles black people go through today. I really enjoyed that testimony by Anthony Ray Hinton. I believe it really has motivated me to go to law school the more.
Today I felt various of emotions. I first felt annoyed by the first tour lady because she didn't mentioned too much about African American history. When asked who built the building, she said "I don't know. Contractors possibly." Maybe she really didn't know but slavery existed when the State Capitol was established. She theb briefly mentioned MLK and Rosa Parks like if it was not a powerful movement that took action by brave people. This evidently shows the improvement (some) white southern people need.
However, after the first one, I definitely appreciated the second trip. Dr. Cherry, a powerful African American that takes pride of the civil right movement, is an incredible one. She reminded us that even though bad people do bad things we need to forgive and like MLK, fight bad with love. She proceed to encourage us telling us that we can make a difference and not let anyone define our character. It's hard to describe the feeling...but it was inspiring.
And lastly Anthony made me feel anger towards injustice. Spending 30 years for a crime he didn't commit because he's black is tragic! He was originally sentenced to death until he got an attorney. First of all, why is a death penalty still an option?! An eye for an eye doesn't make things right....anyway, the amount of people that are falsely accused is ridiculous and shows racism and need more people to fight for those who are voiceless.
3/18: Our first day in D.C. was partly spent on the Capitol Building tour. Previous to the tour, I was doubting if they would present American history accurately-- that is, inclusive of the attributions of African Americans. To my surprise, African Americans were mentioned in a video, so that was surprisingly satisfying. The tour guide also discussed the contributions of enslaved peoples to the history of America and even the building of the Capitol. I still maintain that Black history is watered down and eradicated from much of history, but I wasn’t expecting for us to be mentioned at all at a government building. After this, we visited the MLK memorial. I loved the area because I’m a huge fan of his quotes, so to see them lifesize enscripted on a long wall was very touching. After dinner, we headed back to the hotel for discussion where I got to meet and speak with fellow students I hadn’t met previous to this trip.
Overall, the first full day of this pilgrimage was enlightening and fun. I look forward to the rest of the trip! Xo- Jameelah
3/19: Today was finally the day I got to visit the museum I have been dreaming about for the longest! The Smithsonian. However, before that, we visited Frederick Douglass’ home. I didn’t have much background knowledge on him, so to leave his home learning that he had been enslaved, turned abolitionist and civil and women’s right activist. I also thought it was really interesting that he had political power and his home was representative of that: Overlooking the “city” of DC. It was fun to see how people lived in the 1800s.
Now on to Smithsonian. I was super excited to visit this place. Honestly, it’s so much information and exhibits there, that I didn’t have enough time to truly soak all of the information. But of the many things there, my favorites would include the Emmett Till exhibit. I did a history project on him in 5th grade and now I’m a freshman in college, so each year I feel like I learn something new about him and his impact and gain a fresher perspective. I also enjoyed the women’s section because it’s important to highlight and honor the women who did daily groundwork in the Civil Rights Movement. Although everything was amazing, I loved the cultural aspects of the museum as well. Like the focus on Black music, Black athletes and Black fashion.
To end, this day was filled with a lot of information, emotions and sensory overload (in a good way). This was such an amazing day.
3/20: The International Civil Rights Museum in Greensboro was very educating! I did not know much about the Greensboro 4, like how their act to desegregate lunch counters catapulted the movement down South or like how they planned the whole thing in their college dorm. I’m feeling motivated! Xo. PS. I think I collect hats now >.<
3/21: We were in Atlanta and visited the MLK center! I was very excited for this because it was actually my 2nd time visiting since 2014. I thought it we be great to be there again because I felt that I would have a different experience since I was more interested in the topic, older and more knowledgeable. And guess what? I was right! I even saw a part of the MLK center that I hadn’t seen previously. I learned more about Dr. King’s death and funeral, like how he was carried in a wooden wagon to represent the work he had done within the poor people’s movement. I also learned more about Coretta Scott King, who was an activist and leader in her own right, even after the death of her husband. This shows her strength. Like 4 days after the assassination of Dr. King she lead the worker’s March in Montgomery. This just reiterated to me the resilience of women. Go ladies!! Wooooo! xo.
3/22: Today we were in Tuskegee, where we learned more about the Tuskegee Airmen. I liked learning more about the civilians and non-pilots who were just as influential to the wars as the pilots were. I loved visiting Tuskegee University because it’s such a historical site with a rich history, like Booker T. Washington being the first principal of the school. Looking forward to tomorrow! xo.
3/23: The most impactful moment during today’s adventure was the conversation we had with Dr. Cherry at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. She was very charismatic, energetic and wise. From the time she began speaking during her introduction until the end of her tour, everything said mesmerized me. The entire time I was holding back my tears because I was internalizing every word said. A few of the things that stood out to me were her telling us to take full advantage of our education for upward social mobility, and her telling us to keep characteristics like love and character in our minds. I loved her advice about having standards when it comes down to picking a spouse. She said that we need to have someone who will take a stance for something. That’s really important to me because my interests include things that I feel I need to take a more radical stance on. I loved that she gave us the definition of love via Howard Thurman. You know love when you can be vulnerable around someone, but secure in your trust that they’ll protect your back.
All in all, these were just a few of the things that touched me, but I enjoyed every bit of it! Xo- Jameelah M.
Hearing news on tv is impactful to an extent, but being able to be in the presence of a victim of the injustice that we hear about on the news was crazy. Listening the story of Anthony Hinton who was falsely accused and wrongfully convicted, and then having him walk in the room and tell us in person his experience truly broke my heart. It's hard to put into words all the emotions I felt, especially when I found out how little the cops cared about whether he was guilty or not.
I was able to get a greater understanding of the issues that so many of black people fall victim to. Hearing a man who literally lost half his life for something he didn't do, again, broke my heart, and I was filled with anger; but that anger inspired me. I was inspired to think about ways in which I can use my education to help. I was inspired to not tolerate an injustice when I see one, and there are so many in our society today. I'm so glad I got the opportunity to hear Anthony's story, which I wouldn't have been able to do had I not come on this trip.
- Ashley Mitchell
So far, the most impactful part of the trip to me was visiting the African American museum in D.C, listening to Dr. Benjamin Newhouse, and listening to Dr. Cherry give a tour of Dr. King Jr.'s home. All of these moments have given me advice, understanding, and confidence in my future endeavors when educating. I've learn so much in the museum and it gave me a sense of pride in my culture, making me eager to tell my future students and mentees! I asked Dr. Newhouse for advice in getting my students, who are mostly African Americans, more engage in their culture, and he enlightened me dearly. He told me to start at the beginning and ask them what they want to be and whatever they want to be start with knowing their history. Dr. Cherry was filled with character and I loved her! She gave us all hope and laughs. She made me feel strong and like I can make an extraordinary impact, today, even though I feel so ordinary.
So today I figured out what type of lawyer I want to be. I was between business and defense but today opened my eyes to the need of good defense lawyers because to many innocent men are getting put in jail because they have Incompetent lawyer defending them and the don't have money to hire these lawyers so I would donate me time and service for the community.
Today was a day of stark contrasts. The largest of them between the tour guide at the state capitol and Dr. Sherri Cherry at Dr. King's home.
The tour guide came across as uninterested, dispassionate, and dismissive of actual history. Throughout the tour, it was evident that the tour guide was hesitant or reluctant to mention slaves or go in depth about the civil rights movement. Slaves were referred to as immigrants, which assumes that they moved to America voluntarily for their own good. When discussing the marketplace in the capitol, the tour guide said fruits and vegetables and other goods were sold here and finally admitted to selling slaves in the market when questioned. Overall, I questioned how the civil rights movement and history in general is framed in certain regions of the country.
Not long later, we had the privilege to hear the wise words of Dr. Sherri Cherry. She easily takes the prize for the most inspirational speaker of the trip (so far at least). Her passion for the topic discussed was evident in the way she spoke. I found it amazing that she got a PhD and taught many white students and now lived in her dream home in Rhode Island. Time after time, she filled our minds with inspirational quotes. She told us that the only way that people could step on our backs was if we bent over and allowed it. She told us that if we ever saw a good fight, we should get into it. She told us that love should be defined as feeling completely comfortable with complete vulnerability with another individual. She told us many of us might not have experienced love the way Dr. King did - when he received death threats, he would never talk back, rather he would pray for them. In the end, I came out believing that I should be aggressive in my approach to my passions without regrets but always with love.
Today was the most moving day, whether it was because of a tour guides' apparent ignorance or because of the passion, love, and character of Dr. Cherry.
I think the thing that impacted me the most today was a tie between visiting the Parsonage & getting to hear from Anthony Hinton at the Equal Justice Initiative.
I guess I'll start off by saying the home of Dr. King was a beautiful place & there is no better person on this earth that I would prefer to give a tour of it than Dr. Cherry. She was truly welcoming with open arms and she made us feel as though she lived in that house herself all of these years. Her description of things painted a real picture in my head.
Then I said that I loved Anthony's speech because it seemed well practiced and sincere. I literally shed tears because it made me think about how I would feel if it wrrr me or someone that I loved in that situation.
Mr. Anthony Hinton's story touched me the most because my entire life I have listened to stories about people being sent to prison and death row that was innocent. His story meant so much to because it was a feeling I felt in my heart as he talked that made me feel so much compassion for him. He told us of how the officers said they didn't even care if he really shot the person or not, and that he would be he one paying for the crime of "one of his homeboys". I thought it was so important how the people analyzing the bullets and other pieces of evidence basically admitted thirty years later that the bullets from his mother's gun and the gun that killed the man did not even match. This really made me think of the potential impact I can make in the community because I plan on becoming a forensic chemist which is one the people who analyzes the items from crime scenes. It made me realize that I can really make a difference in the court system one day.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign || College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Chemistry || Class of 2020
Today was easily my favorite day of the trip so far! Dr. Shirley was such a character, and she was incredibly inspiring. Her outlook on life and the future gave me hope, and her message of radical inclusivity would make anyone feel welcome. I loved how she persevered through her time and encouraged the people in our group to persevere through theirs. Despite all the racism she's faced throughout her life, she insisted on never giving up and never letting the bigots get to her.
She had a tag line for every situation, and her advice was sage. She was also obviously very well educated, and she could quote just about any intellect word for word! Then when she started speaking directly to Andre in the kitchen, I really started to tear up. She moved me with her energy and her message like no one else on this trip has.
Our group saw many museums and had many opportunities to learn about the history of civil rights. However, a common theme that is brought up in our discussions and lectures is how can our generation carry on this legacy? Many lecturers and professors offer their thoughts, but I loved how the Equal Justice Initiative is demonstrating what it looks like to fight for equal rights today. We had the opportunity to hear a testimony of a man who received justice after 30 years of solitary confinement from an unjust system. EJI was committed to giving a fair trial where he was freed after being found not guilty. EJI has recognized an issue and is working to have justice. I was inspired by the dedication to give legal justice to adults and children. To be able to use their occupation to positively impact the community and people's lives, showed me that we can use our skills and education to make things right. This was really inspirational for me to see the many opportunities to create equality and justice.
Today, I had the opportunity only a few men can say they did. I unlocked and opened the door of Dr.King house in Alabama. After I opened the door, I felt some type of power even though that might sounds silly. I want to give thanks to Dr. Cherry for this opportunity. Also I learned so much about the Alabama prison system and the lynching in the state.
While at the state capitol, I found it very interesting how the tour guide didnt give credits to the slaves that built the capitol. I found it very interesting when I asked the question on who built it, she was very confused then said contractors.
There were many things that impacted me today but seeing Anthony testify about his experience was inspiring. I didn't know how bad the segregation is still in the south, things that we aren't notified of. It was very peculiar to see how great the Capitol portrayed themselves verses what actually is going on. Though I don't know what I want to do, I know that I want to make a difference and this experience solidified that change is needed.
Today what impacted me the most was when I saw how Anthony was incarcerated for so long and nobody really cared for his well being. What he saw and how he talked about how he was treated was mind blowing. It hurt me deeply because I put myself in his shoes and I imagined how I would handle the situation. He is just such a strong man to still be standing today and hold his head high as he tell his story.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
We travelled to many places today but I really enjoyed Shirley Cherry as our tour guide at The Dexter Parsonage Museum. She was really passionate about what she was teaching us and she kept us interested in the conversation. Dr Cherry was a very lively and funny person and I feel like I learned the most from her. I would also like to add EJI as part of the impact of today because the guest speaker was absolutely amazing. It was crazy to actually see, in person, someone who went through the struggle of being an African American and being mistreated and being thrown in jail for 30 years of their life for no reason what so ever. I'm thrilled that he still smiles and has the messages of learning to forgive people for yourself no matter what. Forgiveness is for you, not the other person.
For me, today going to visit the Equal Justice Project was life changing. Getting to hear about their mission and then having Anthony come and tell his story of spending 30 years on death row really reinforced for me that no one deserves to die, and our criminal justice system does get cases wrong. To think that an innocent man had 30 years of his life stolen from him by our government.
Death is so final that I do not think it is ever fair and 30 years without being allowed to do things as simple as feel rain is cruel and unusual punishment, even if the person is guilty, not to mention if we get it wrong.
I will never forget Anthony's story or the work of the EJP.
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
I loved being able to wonder around the museum as I pleased and being attracted to certain cases and videos was really nice because I got depth and knowledge on things I did not hear or learn about. Another thing I enjoyed about the museum is the other people there and watching how the interacted with the art and the information. Going through the museum you see people of all ages and backgrounds interacting with the content. The placement of the museum is interesting too, yesterday we learned about the buildings in the national mall being built by enslaved black people, today we see a building bringing light to the history of the United States.
Tomorrow morning we will meet at the bus at 8:30am. We are sleeping in Montgomery another night, so you can leave your bags in your room. This is a really packed day so make sure you get a good night of sleep and you wear comfortable shoes.
Our first stop is at 9am at the Rosa Parks Museum. In order to make this tour work with our schedule they had to have us do the tour backward from the way they normally do it. We will tour the exhibits on our own when we first get there and then at 8:30am we will watch a film about the Bus Boycott. As soon as the movie is over we need to head out to the bus quickly so that we make it to the next stop on time. If you are buying something in the gift shop, make sure you do it before the movie starts at 8:30.
At 10am we are doing a tour of the Alabama State Capitol. As you tour the Capitol keep in mind that all of the third graders in Alabama come to do the tour at some point during their year. What do you think that the third graders learn about their state from touring this building? We will leave at 10:45 and walk down to our next stop since it is only 2 blocks away.
At 11am we are touring Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. This is the first church that Dr. King presided over and was the only church he was ever the head of. The bus boycott was planned in the basement of this church.
At Noon we are having lunch at the RSA Tower. This is a cafeteria for government workers. There are several different lines once you get inside, so if the line seems long you might want to see if there are actual lines for all of the stations or just one. We will meet at 1pm to walk to the Freedom Rides Museum together.
At 1:15 we are touring the Freedom Rides Museum. Make sure you are on the lookout for Dr. LaFayette at this museum. They have his picture up a couple of places. At 2pm we will load the bus to head to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
At 2:30 is our tour of the Southern Poverty Law Center Civil Rights Memorial. Leave anything you don’t need on the bus. They make us go through a metal detector before we can enter the memorial, leaving unneeded things on the bus will make things go quicker. However, people usually like the stuff in their gift shop, so if you are a shopper bring your money.
At 3:30 we are headed to hear a speaker at the Equal Justice Initiative. The Equal Justice Initiative is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.
At 5:15 we will head to dinner at Eastdale Mall. We will give you a little time to shop or walk around the mall. We will load back up on the bus at 7:15pm
At 7:30 we will have discussion at the Holiday Inn Express.
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Today we visited the Martin Luther King Jr. Center. Unfortunately, his childhood home, a hallmark of the center, was closed for repairs. Although we could not tour the house, our group went to take pictures in front of the house. It was a beautiful yellow home and a little larger than I expected, but I suppose it makes sense because King’s father was a very prominent pastor. After visiting Dr. King's childhood home, we went to go view the mausoleum of him and his wife Coretta Scott King. The mausoleum was large and beautiful set on a bed of water. The mausoleum also features an eternal flame in honor of Dr. King and his wife Coretta. After visiting the mausoleum, we went to Ebenezer Baptist Church. Once in the sanctuary we could hear the voice of Dr. King giving a sermon. His sermon was about a humble man who was great but never did any of the stereotypical things associated with greatness. This man never visited any large cities and never "traveled more than 200 miles from where he was born." King told the congregation that by the end of the sermon they would know who he was talking about. I believe the man he was talking about was Jesus Christ.
After going to the church, I returned to the King center to check out the exhibits. The exhibits were primarily pictures and videos, but there was one with sculptures of people marching. This exhibit was particularly powerful because the sculptures were so life like. I distinctly remember a sculpture of a white teen marching with his younger sister. He had a very focused look on his face and his sister stared up at him with admiration. During the exhibit I learned a lot about how Gandhi's nonviolent marches in India served to inspire King and other African American leaders to lead the civil rights movement with non-violence. While going through the exhibits I was saddened to learn that Dr. King's mother Alberta King was killed while playing the organ in the Ebenezer church I had just visited. This visit also helped me to better understand the institution of segregation and how it was used to instill a sense of inferiority into African Americans to more easily subject them to the economic will of white individuals. I learned about the Poor People's marched that Dr. King was organizing in 1968 shortly before his death. Although we could not tour King's childhood home this visit was an amazing experience and invaluable learning experience. While many of the pieces in the exhibits made me sad, they also instilled in me a sense of pride in that I am a part of a race of people which refused to believe the blatant lie spewed by American society that people of color are inferior to whites. They not only refused to accept the societal norms of segregation and degradation, but they put their lives on the line daily to ensure that our country lived up to its creed that "all men are created equal.”
To end our day, we visited the International Center for Human and Civil Rights where we spoke with Dr. Bernard Lafayette. Dr. Bernard Lafayette is a civil rights activist and organizer who played a vital role in the freedom rides of 1961 and worked with Dr. Martin Luther King and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) to organize marches in Selma. Today was a great day and I learned a ton more than I could’ve imagined.
P.S I’ve also had the best food so far on the trip at the soul food restaurant Mary Mac’s Tea Room.
Monday, March 20, 2017
Sunday, March 19, 2017
Reflection : Touring the Capitol Building was a very interesting experience. I enjoyed what I had seen but upset by what I was not able to see. I desired for the tour to cover more areas of the Capitol Building and even somehow allow us to see an active session of congress. During the tour as he was explaining different things I noticed that he did not give too much information of the Constitution’s inception. Matter of fact, when watching the pre-lecture in the auditorium it did not give too much detail on the Constitution’s creation. Albeit I do not expect a tour guide to know everything about US history and all its details nor a pre-lecture to have included so much information, but I believe it is very important to know because it is the very foundation of our nation. Moreover, I wanted to question our tour guide about the validity of the Constitution. Reason being is that the Constitution was actually an illegal document according to the Articles of Confederation, which was the United States’ first constitution. I wanted to see what he would have to say against it. However, I did not want to put a wrench in our group’s plans seeing that we were on a time schedule and a discussion such as that would take at least 20-30 minutes to get through. I want to be clear on my statement that it is not a conspiracy theory or a stretched interpretation of events. The constitution being an illegal document is easy to perceive when reading the Articles of Confederation. Knowing this and analyzing history of the United States will allow us to realize that when it comes to order in society that the type of government does not matter in bringing about the welfare and happiness of the majority in society. Yes, I understand that there are some types of government that are more helpful to the goal of society’s welfare and happiness, but it is not the deciding factor. It was never about the type of government, but who you know in government. I do not have the space here to express myself fully on the matter, but if one were to just recall many of the hypocritical events that have transpired in the United States they would see this to be true.
Terrell - Greensboro
Monday, March 20, 2017
Sunday at Midnight arrive in Greensboro where we will stay at the Holiday Inn Express.
Our Monday activities will include going to the International Civil Rights Museum. We will arrive there at 9:30am. There will be a guided tour at this museum as we learn the story of the Greensboro Four, and how they were the great leaders of the sit-ins. Last year they showed us a documentary before we went on our tour, so be prepared to watch that as you will need this to help connect your knowledge with what you’ll be seeing during the tour.
At 11:05am we will have Guest Speaker Dr. Tara Green speak with after we tour the museum. Special thanks to Dr. Bailey for reaching out to Dr. Green for us and getting her to be our speaker. Please show gratitude and respect for Dr. Green because she’s giving us her time out of her busy schedule.
Lastly, at 12:05 we will have lunch in Downtown Greensboro. You have the freedom to choose where you want to eat in that area. Food places include: Crafted the Art of the Taco, Koshary, Jimmy Johns, Subway, etc. Be mindful that we do have to be on the bus by 12:55pm in order to leave at 1pm as planned. Where you eat includes walking distance, waiting time to be seated and to get food, and time it takes to eat and get back to the bus.
At 1pm, we will leave Greensboro for Atlanta, GA. We will also stop for dinner while we are on the road. We will arrive in Atlanta at 7pm at the Hampton Inn. To give you guys a little time to get your room situation taken care of, we’ve allotted almost an hour for you to get comfortable. At 7:55 we will have a discussion about the how things are going on the trip so far. After discussion, you guys are free to go to bed, socialize, etc. We know that Atlanta is one of the favorite cities on our itinerary, so we have had people leave the hotel in the past to go to Walmart, Cascade Skating, etc. However, you should remember that this is not the party trip, but you are still allowed to enjoy yourself. We just ask that if you plan on leaving the hotel that you let January or Kim know where you’re going. You are responsible for being back at the hotel, and we will be leaving the hotel at 8am.
Weather - 64* HI, 43* LO - Periods of clouds and sun
Saturday, March 18, 2017
For me, today was a great day. Our group formed more as our own community traveling together. We visited the US Capitol and had the chance to be at the center of our government. There were glimpses of the times in our history that we worked a little closer to becoming a "more perfect union." It is obvious we have a long way to go, but traveling with these students gives me hope.
We also were able to visit the Dr. Martin Luther King Memorial. It was pretty remarkable to finally have his proper place as one of our country's greatest heroes.
Overall, I am so thankful to be here with these particular students and to be able to experience all we will over the next week with them.
Washington was very essential and a good way to start off the trip. It provided us with detail on our history and how certain people influence history more. Seeing certain statutes did show how some people will be valued a lot less. Though seeing a giant statute of Martin Luther king Jr. Memorial also gives me appreciation and respect to the man who made his entire existence about getting help for his people. Only one day and im excited to see what's next.
When I went to capitol, it was interesting how they represented George Washington as almost god of the United States, and it gave fresh me fresh mind how Americans treated President Washington. However, when I had discussion, I realized not only I but also US students thought it was bit weird to represent President Washington as a god.
Friday, March 17, 2017
We will arrive in Washington DC at 3 AM on Saturday! After getting an ample amount of rest, we will start our day at 11 AM having lunch at the Springfield Town Center, so please be on the bus no later than 10:40 AM. This is the mall nearest to the hotel and although we are there for about an hour for lunch, feel free to walk around and enjoy the mall. This is a day filled with walking so make sure you get a good meal in and are wearing your comfortable shoes. The weather for today will be around 55 degrees and partly cloudy.
Promptly at 12:30 PM, thus we will need to be on the bus at 12:00 PM sharp. we will begin our Capitol Tour. This is a guided tour, thus we will have a person giving us descriptions and details about the ins and outs of the Capitol Building. Keep in mind that this is our first time we have been given this opportunity, and we would like to keep coming back, so please be attentive and have fun. The Capitol Tour will last roughly about an hour and after we will get back on the bus and make our way towards the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.
At the memorial, we take our first group photo during our trip. From there, about 2 PM, we will have free time till 4 PM. During this time, there is so much that you all have opportunities to do. For example, you can visit other museums along the National Mall, you can visit the Lincoln Memorial, and many more. The National Mall is America’s most visited national park, so there are endless and timeless memories that can be made.
After free time, we will travel to Hard Times Cafe for dinner. The bus ride will be about 15 minutes, so please be on the bus on time! This is an American restaurant, thus they serve everything from burgers to pizza to chicken tenders and much more. Additionally, we will be in there Large Room that hosts pool tables and other games. At around 6:30 PM we will load the bus and head back to the hotel. Since this is our first night on the trip, things will be a bit hectic in regards to getting backs, assigning keys, and just getting settled. Although hectic it is manageable. Once settled in, or at least comfortable, each group will have discussion at 7:30 PM in their assigned location (TBA - depends on the hotel setup). Discussion, since it is the first night, will not be too long, but long enough to get everyone initial reaction to the trip thus far. After discussion, you are free to utilize your time however you would like, just remember you are still representing the University of Illinois.