SMU Civil Rights Pilgrimage 2012

During spring break 2012, students, faculty and staff are taking a nine-day bus ride through the American South to visit civil rights landmarks and leaders in the movement. Political Science Professor Dennis Simon leads the pilgrimage with SMU’s Chaplain’s Office.

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Sunday morning in Philadelphia

An update from Ed, who is participating in the pilgrimage with his daughter, Janelle:

In the year 2012, the church is just as segregated as it was in 1965. We have come so far and sacrificed so much for us to forget God.

God is the only one that can order our hearts to overcome hatred and bigotry. As much as we try as human beings, our success is much like those three who died in Mississippi that “Freedom Summer.”

They died as one. They died with a goal to make freedom become a reality for others who did not have it. They, in their last moments, made their peace with their God; no doubt crying out in anguish for the bitter cup of hatred to be removed from oppression.

Though they probably worshipped God individually, they saw in their last moments, the hand of God touch them as one.

Sunday is about faith. Sunday is about love. Sunday is about God. Through this trip we have had a total immersion in the Civil Rights struggle, and one theme resonates. Faith.

We have traveled across the Delta and into the heartland of Mississippi to attend church. Our pilgrims do not know that by us worshipping together, it is a revolutionary act. By sitting down, worshipping a God that knows no color, we in fact do what the Civil Rights Soldiers did before us. They tossed aside conventional thought and interacted with others who were different, for God loves us all.

We are Michael Schwerner, James Earl Chaney, Andrew Goodman. Our collective souls are not black. They are not white. God judges us for humanity, not our color.

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