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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‘You, too, can make a change’

Sylvia.jpg An update from Sylvia, a senior biological sciences major with a minor in education:

We shall overcome.

We shall overcome.

We SHALL overcome some day.

As we sang linked together in a circle, right arm over left, I begin to think about the journey thus far. Words began to flood my mind and tears came to my eyes as we sang this song in unison.

History.
Pain.
Courage.
Motivation.
Determination.
Forgotten.
Patience.
Patience.
Patience.

I could not get the word patience out of my head. The amount of patience each soldier involved in the movement exercised is immeasurable. It is also difficult to put into words how this experience has touched and changed my life; I certainly feel like it cannot be quantified.

Over the course of these past 5 days, we have met those who were involved, in varying capacities, during the civil rights movement. It has been such an honor that I could have never imagined. No one was bitter or angry, but more so encouraging and comforting. The love and enthusiasm that radiated out of each person we have met on this journey has been powerful. They want us, the 2010 pilgrims, to remember to do OUR BEST in all we do, NEVER give up, and fight for what we believe in.

Our tour guide while in Selma, JoAnne Bland, said, “You, too, can make a change, you just have to say something.” I have written down this statement, along with countless others, to hold me with me for the rest of my years.

Hopefully soon I will be able to find more words to express my feelings and the power of this journey throughout the Deep South. Until then …

We. Shall. Overcome.

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