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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Warm welcome at Mt. Zion

Kimberly.jpg An update from Kimberly, a first-year student planning to major in political science and international studies with a minor in human rights:

Well, today was Daylight Savings. Let me tell you, I do not enjoy “springing forward.: However, today was amazing and definitely made up for it! We left Jackson to head to Philadelphia, which is about an hour and 40 minutes away. Today the pilgrims visited Mt. Zion Methodist Church. The significance of this place is the lynching of three civil rights workers in the 1960s.

On the way to Philadelphia, Fred (our driver) took some routes that showed the impoverished areas of Mississippi. Despite this poverty, the congregation seemed so happy. They were kind, warmhearted and welcoming. I felt right at home, and I’m sure that everyone else did as well.

After the service, we learned more of the Klan’s damage to the church. The congregation’s strength through its trials was truly inspirational. I’m unsure how they channel that negativity into strength for their cause. I want to be more like that. Their delicious buttermilk pie must help keep them optimistic. ;)

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