Civil Rights Pilgrimage South

During Spring Break 2011, students, faculty and staff are taking an eight-day bus ride to the American South’s civil rights landmarks. Political Science Professor Dennis Simon leads the pilgrimage with SMU’s Chaplain’s Office.

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Simple equality

Kelvin%20.jpg An update from Kelvin, who is earning a Master of liberal studies:

Wow, what a day.

I learned so much about the life of a real social activist in about 45 minutes. Holding back tears, because I only receive a watered-down version of racism in my little time on this earth – whereas Minnijean Brown Trickey (one of “The Little Rock Nine”) suffered six hours a day in what she called “U.S. terrorism at its worst. Hell and torment day in and day out.”

Minnijean considered her problem for being expelled from school, the simple concept of being tall, beautiful and PROUD. Although jokingly saying this, she felt that the confidence in her was what pushed her through such horrible times in life.

Something to think about….

How would you feel if you were tormented every day because you felt the right to know that the earth wasn’t flat? Minnijean stated that a reason she wanted to go to Central High School was because she wanted to read books that didn’t teach the earth to be flat. Such a simple concept, but yet she was wrongly treated for wanting to learn. WANTING TO LEARN!

How ignorant!

With such emotions flowing throughout the day, I must say my time here and on the road is phenomenal and I wouldn’t trade anything for it. God has given me a chance to dive into what really happened. Not just eyewitnesses, but people who were actually beaten, thrown, spit on, kicked, inhaled tear gas and felt the clubs of policemen. All for the simple right to be consider equal. Yes, receiving the right to vote; yes, receiving the right to go to school; most important, to be able to go into an ice cream shop and lick on a scoop of vanilla ice cream just like the white folk were able to.

Yes, all the rights were needed – but from what I’ve seen, heard and even felt in my spirit, the most important was the simple, non-complex, undemanding, trouble-free right to be considered equal.

A simple example: What the people we talked to today wanted was for the quarter in an African-American hand to be equal to the quarter in a white hand.

Simple, right?

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