Daily Archives: March 13, 2014

Through grief to joy

A rusting hook used to chain prisoners set before the firing squad. There have been one or two occasions in our short stay to date that have moved me to the point of tears. One has been our visit to the Museo Ruta del Esclavo – an old fortress and prison, now a museum, that was at the heart of the slave trade for several centuries. One overwhelming moment was a look at the wall where executions took place. The remains of an iron bar – to which doomed prisoners were chained in their final seconds of life – rusts above a huge rugged gouge (several feet deep in some areas) where bullets through the years have worn [...]

2014-03-20T17:25:54+00:00 March 13th, 2014|Perkins School of Theology in Cuba|

Exploring France’s dark past

An update from Merle, a graduate student in Liberal Studies: Have been experiencing a tour of sites in France associated with the WWII Holocaust. We have concentrated on French atrocities. Not only has the trip been an eye-opener and sometimes a tearjerker; it has also taught someone who felt she knew that era's history so much more. I heard "Vichy" in the past and thought mineral water or thick vegetable soup. In fact, it was the capital of what remained, in theory, of independent France after 1940 when the Germans marched into the northern part of the country. Now we have learned how un-independent that Vichy government was when it came to protecting the nation's Jewish population. We are seeing [...]

2014-03-14T12:39:59+00:00 March 13th, 2014|Human Rights, France|

Contrasts between liberty and slavery at Monticello

The next morning started bright and early as we left for our tour of Monticello. I was especially excited for this tour. After all, we had read three (enormous) books about the Master of the Mountain and the contrast between his ideas on liberty and slavery. Going to Monticello would be a journey into the heart of the issue. A dive into Jefferson’s own mind. I will say, though, that before the trip, I had forgotten everything else that Jefferson did in his lifetime. I was so caught up in his hypocrisy! I didn’t know it at the time, but Monticello would serve as a reminder of what an incredible man Jefferson was. On the mountain we watched a short [...]

2014-04-11T16:55:47+00:00 March 13th, 2014|Sara in Colonial Virginia|

A Voice for the Voiceless

An update from Shelbi, a junior human rights major: Yesterday we left Montgomery, Alabama to head to Jackson, Mississippi. On the way, we stopped in Philadelphia, Mississippi to visit Mt. Zion United Methodist Church. We unloaded the bus, wandered around the property for a few minutes, and eventually made our way inside and took our seats. Two women were there to share their stories with us. The first woman was the daughter of a man brutally beaten the night of the church burning in 1964. The second woman's mother and brother were also beaten that dreadful June night. They talked about their families, and they talked about the three Civil Rights activists who where murdered that June: Michael Schwerner (25), [...]

2014-03-13T11:04:49+00:00 March 13th, 2014|Civil Rights Pilgrimage 2014|

Our life-changing week

An update from Bettye, a graduate student in Liberal Studies: As we are on our final few days of a truly life-changing week, I reflect on how privileged we are to have met some of the icons of the civil rights movement: Standing near the son of Martin Luther King, Jr. Listening to the preachings of Mr. Jesse Jackson Hearing the wisdom of the words of U.S. Rep. John Lewis Sharing a meal with the Rev. and Mrs. Graetz Shaking the hand of Mr. Julian Bond Sitting in Mt. Zion Church with the children of the victims of beatings in Philadelphia, Mississippi I am humbled by each of these leaders in the march to freedom. But it is not those [...]

2014-03-13T10:10:32+00:00 March 13th, 2014|Civil Rights Pilgrimage 2014|

Meeting new friends

An update from Denice, a graduate student in Liberal Studies, with an emphasis on social justice and human rights: It is absolutely wonderful traveling with this crew. We have met many wonderful people: each other, distinguished guests, waitstaff, hotel staff, fabulous tour guides and random people interested in who we are, where we have been and where we are headed. One young man, a graduate student at the University of Alabama, stopped by our table at lunch with questions of the buttons I was wearing. One is the SMU Civil Rights Pilgrimage pin: red oval with the University's name on the outside and CRP in the center. The other one was given to each of us by the Civil Rights Museum. [...]

2014-03-13T10:01:42+00:00 March 13th, 2014|Civil Rights Pilgrimage 2014|