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From Northfield to Selma
Carleton students in front of the MLK memorial in Washington DC

From Northfield to Selma

Photos by Jeremy Fong ’23

A Carleton Spring Break tour links civil rights history with the struggle for equality today.

Twenty Carls spent Spring Break visiting key sites of U.S. civil rights history, with stops at landmarks including the National Underground Railroad Center in Cincinnati, the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, and the Equal Justice Initiative’s Legacy Museum in Montgomery. Organized by the Dean of Students Office, the Northfield to Selma trip gave students the opportunity to reflect on how these moments in history link with the struggles of today and, hopefully, imagine ways to mindfully participate in the ongoing movement for equity and social change. Led by Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students Carolyn H. Livingston, the 2023 edition was chronicled online through daily, student-written blog posts on the DOSO website. These posts capture key moments on their powerful journey.

“As I explored [Washington], I was constantly in awe of its beauty. But at the same time, my mind could not help but drift to those who labored to make it so. When I applied for this trip, this is what I wanted to be reminded of—not all the issues that still run rampant in this country, but the beauty that exists because of those who worked so hard to get things started.”
—Jeremy Fong ’23

“It is said that its ‘unfinished’ look [of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial] is intentional in symbolizing MLK’s unfinished work, as well as pointing out his early death. It’s clear there’s still much work to be done regarding the issue of racism in the United States; however, the work of MLK and many others was perhaps the impetus for lasting change in this country. We continue to fight today, but a lot of battles indeed were fought by those before us.”
—Dak Blagburn ’23

“It was powerful to sit in an area with such heavy spiritual significance, both uplifting and saddening; I tried to envision the church packed with people joining together united under one purpose and really tried to feel the presence of those that came before me with similar spiritual longing.”
—Aiana Whitfield ’23

“[The National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta] made it clear to me that the same children who were fighting in the lunch counter sit-ins and the marches from Selma to Montgomery are just like me and other students, now, who are fighting against police brutality and for an equitable education.”
—Faith Agboola ’24

“The Children’s March reminded me of the importance of youth and young adults fighting for justice and equal rights. We can’t complain for change if we don’t stand for something is a key theme of these marches and something I hope to take with me as I continue to fight for change.”
—Tiffany Nyamao ’25

“During the video that showed before we entered [the Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham], I watched it in full and did not look at it like I normally do KKK videos. I walked past the robe and did not let it control my emotions. I felt proud of myself. I do not know if my body was absent of fear, but I know that my reactions to the images that used to haunt my childhood no longer had that hold on me.”
—Victoria Kindall ’25

“It instilled a sense of pride to see different communities standing together to fight for the long-denied human rights that should have always been promised. As I finish typing this on the bus back to Northfield, I feel grateful for being included on a trip like this and for the people I met as well. This history is still unfolding before us and waiting to see what we do with it next. I hope it continues to stir consciences and inspire future students.”
—Diana Kachman ’23

two students stand next to each other

Darryl York III ’23 and Dak Blagburn ’23


Kaysha Neville ’24, Aaliya Crews ’24, Frank Sheffield ’24, and Annie Isler (staff) in the Birmingham Civil Rights District


Jeremy Fong ’23 with Teruyo Seta-Davis


Lucky Beulla Muhoza ’26, Nia Terry ’26, and Jackson Walker ’24 at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta