30 March 2019
by Miah Kline
Some would say that after the whirlwind of activities, experiences, and feelings that was our Spring Break, a day spent on the bus driving home was an anticlimactic end to our trip. They would be wrong.
Our day began with an early wake-up call in St. Louis, MO. Our baggage was packed and the thought that the next time we would sleep would be in our own rooms in our own beds is what propelled us into the bus at the early hour of 8:30. The rain might also have been a motivating factor in our hasty boarding. Getting wet was vexing to me at first, but, as I settled down in my seat and stared at the droplets streaking across our windows, a new perspective came to me. Having learned a great amount on how faith played a role in the fight for civil rights for African Americans, from slaves to activists, my thoughts were on religion. Before my eyes, the rain changed from an inconvenience to a symbolic baptism. From all that we had learned on this trip, we were born again, more educated and aware.
29 March 2019
by Morgan Bettin-Coleman
Today began like most others on this trip, with my roommates and I waking up only about 15 minutes before our unbelievably early 6:45 am departure. As someone who never goes to bed at a reasonable time, I was grateful that the drive from Birmingham to Memphis increased my sleeping time from five and a half hours to a more acceptable nine. I woke up with a jolt as the bus slammed to a stop in Memphis, a few minutes away from the location of the Stax Record Company turned museum. As an avid Motown fan, I was a bit upset that we were not exploring a center dedicated to the Detroit-based record label. However, the Stax museum piqued my interest, especially because I had never heard of the company prior to this trip.
28 March 2019
By the morning of Thursday, March 28, Jeff’s bus of Civil Rights Movement historians was eager to reach a climactic point on the trip: a visit to Birmingham, Alabama, also known as Ground Zero of the Civil Rights Movement. Our first stop was the 16th Street Baptist Church. Before discussing the tragic event that cemented this church’s place in our nation’s history, we learned that the story of the church began with the freeing of the slaves in 1865 and the congregation First Colored Baptist Church that formed soon after in 1873 and changed its name to 16th Street Baptist Church upon moving to 16th Street. With membership peaking in the 1960s, the church served Birmingham’s African American community but lost a great deal of membership as a result of urban renewal programs that encouraged relocation from downtown areas to the suburbs throughout America.
27 March 2019
I wake up to an orb of light blinding me. I turn away quickly and the room is spinning. It looks as if some malicious spirit has followed me to our hotel. I close my eyes for a few seconds and wait for the sheets to be pulled off me in some Conjuring style mischief, but nothing happens. I cautiously open one eye then two, the room seems normal as everyone bustles about to get to the bus in time. It seems that someone turned on a lamp next to me quickly rousing me into a confused state, and as I’m cursed (apparently) I immediately mistook the light and movement for specters gliding over the bed. I should probably explain that. Yesterday on a visit to Gees Bend I mistakenly pointed at a gravestone which given the groups immediate uproar was seen to be taboo. After pointing at several gravestones in rapid succession I became accursed doomed to a life plagued by spirits, or something like that. Anyways since I am a tad superstitious, I decided for the time being to label myself curse free for sanity’s sake and moved to start packing. I was the first to leave the room and had some time left so I went downstairs to grab some Raisin Bran cereal (Not Sponsored) and joined the others on the bus headed towards the Legacy Museum in Montgomery, Alabama, which was relatively close to the hotel we were staying in.
27 March 2019
by Maxime Munyeshyaka
For our third day in Alabama, a city rich in civil rights history, we spent most of the day walking in our most comfortable shoes. It was extremely hot outside on average of 65 degrees Fahrenheit which is better than the cold Minnesota. While on the way to the Legacy Museum, most of students were reflecting on their networking experiences with Carleton Alumni at Rob’s house in Atlanta and were worried about how they will be walking all day to different places, waiting to return to the bus at 4:30PM. At the beginning of the tour, a staff member informed us that the Legacy museum is located on the site of a former warehouse where black people were enslaved in Montgomery. Everything else was self-guided and we were NOT allowed to take pictures and videos. Through visuals and data-rich exhibits, the museum gave us the opportunity to learn about the tragic history of African Americans and racial oppression they face(d) throughout their journey to equality. The museum immersed us in the sights and sounds of the slave trade, racial terrorism, and the Jim Crow laws through use of interactive media, sculpture, videography and exhibits. There was a room showing slaves in jail cells who were each telling their stories.
26 March 2019
by Delina Haileab
Refreshing, surreal, frustrating, disheartening, empowering, mesmerizing…just a few words that begin to describe day 7 of our Northfield to Selma Trip.
The night was spent in Montgomery, Alabama. I woke up this morning well-rested and headed to the complimentary breakfast on the first floor of our hotel. As soon as I sat down, an older lady named Elizabeth sat next to me and we simply chatted the breakfast away. This has been my first time visiting the South, and I can say without a doubt, Southern Hospitality is a real thing. It has been so refreshing to experience the genuine kindness. Elizabeth was traveling with a senior-citizen group from North Carolina, and we immediately bonded by sharing our experiences on our trips so far. My conversation with Elizabeth had set the stage for what would be another incredible day on this trip.
26 March 2019
by Jade Kandel
Today is our first day in Alabama.
In the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute at Selma, we met our tour guide Sam Walker who spoke with passion and conviction about the story of Jimmie Lee Jackson, Bloody Sunday, and the march from Selma to Montgomery. His passion and enthusiasm was contagious. Mr. Walker concludes by revealing that as an 11-year old boy he held demonstration signs, got arrested twice, and helped clean up the campsite of the Selma march. I was left in awe, being in the presence of a Freedom Fighter who was involved in these inspiring historical moments.
by Fayzeh El Banna
Today was absolutely amazing but also exhausting given my, not so well-thought, decision to be up at 5am to do comps. While walking outside the King’s center, there were small panels supposedly written by elementary and middle schoolers that particularly drew my attention. Their words on peace and love captured their idealistic view of the world, which was more impactful than adorable per se; of all the things it made me deeply want to work towards providing kids born pure and loving with a better place to live in. Also, I couldn’t help but compare the feelings I got being at MLK national park to those I got touring around the memorials.
by Baustin Shaw
The second day in Atlanta started with us going to the MLK memorial center. We got there bright and early, even before the park rangers, to make sure we get to see everything. It started with seeing Martin Luther King Jr’s and Coretta Scott King’s burial place on the upgraded reflective pool. It was such a surreal moment and setup the rest of our experience well. By being in the presence of the King family and being aware of their many accomplishments, influence, and altruism just created an experience that couldn’t be replicated. We then walked to the house that Martin Luther King Jr grew up in until he was 12. The house was within a block of the burial site and the neighborhood was beautifully kept clean and preserved. Once we were allowed into the house we got to go on a tour and learn even more about his childhood.
by Sara Saintil
Although today called for a very early wake-up, I did not mind rolling out of bed at 6:00am as (1) the complimentary hotel breakfast was delicious, for a hotel breakfast of course, and (2) I was looking forward to the sites we would be visiting. Atlanta, Georgia is a state that has always stood out to me. In high school, I was obsessed with the city as it is a very diverse area with a strength in sciences, as the hub of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. I knew this trip wouldn’t necessarily allow me to explore that particular interest of mine, but I was thrilled to see the ways in which my view of Atlanta would change.