Civil Rights Pilgrimage 2010

During Spring Break 2010, students, faculty and staff are taking an eight-day bus ride to the American South’s civil rights landmarks, with stops in Little Rock, Arkansas; Selma, Montgomery and Birmingham, Alabama; Jackson and Oxford, Mississippi; and Memphis, Tennessee. They will be led by Ray Jordan of the Office of the Chaplain and Religious Life; Dennis Simon, associate professor of political science in Dedman College; and junior Linwood Fields, a political science and English major who participated in the 2009 pilgrimage.

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My ‘aha’ moment

Chrysta%20Brown.jpg An update from Chrysta, a senior dance performance major, with a human rights minor:

You know what has always irked me until this day? The song “Ooh Child.” Does it bother anyone else that the song is so happy? The words to the song, the time in which it was written, have always seemed to contradict its rather catchy and optimistic beat. But today it all became clear. Call it an “aha moment” if you want.

C1.JPG Today one of the guys on the trip, Ron, pulled some strings and got us free donuts from a shop called Donutso. Let it be known, I’m a bit of a donut snob. I don’t eat just anyone’s donuts, and I will drive miles to get good ones. It was so much fun. All of us were sitting together in the tiny donut shop eating AMAZING donuts and cheering for SMU. It’s a small matter to make us so happy, but if you think about it, this couldn’t have happened fifty years ago.

“Ooh Child,” was playing when we got back on the bus and it felt so authentic. I think it may have been written after a moment like this.

c2.JPG Further into the day we went to the Stax Museum, which is the Soul Music Museum. Isaac Hayes’ mess of a vehicle is in there. It has custom-made wheels, gold design, a white furry interior, a refrigerator, and a mini television. It was a mess, but I’m not mad at him. The Stax was really cool for a number of reasons. All of these people are artists, and I was able to see how they used their craft to catalyze social change during the Movement. It was really encouraging and inspiring to see that, even if I’m coming at change from a different artistic avenue.

Secondly, all throughout this trip, I’ve been saying how proud I am of my Black predecessors and all of the people who fought for Civil Rights. Today, it clicked: I’m one of them. So is everyone on the trip. So, in addition to being proud of the people who came before us, I’m proud of us. By coming on this trip we did a really beautiful thing, and I have no doubt that we will leave the road behind us glittering with beautiful and meaningful moments.

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