An update from Karma, a junior human rights and political science double major with a minor in law and legal reasoning: As I return from the 10th Annual SMU Civil Rights Pilgrimage, I have a shadow lingering over my head, a shadow that has existed since March 15, 2011. Today – March 15, 2014 – marks the three-year anniversary of the beginning of the Syrian Revolution. Born to Syrian immigrants, I have been greatly influenced by Syrian culture, history, and most importantly, the people. Throughout my entire life up until I was 17 years old, I spent every summer vacation in Syria. I never thought my last day in Syria would be my last. As I think about Emmett Till, [...]
An update from Lisa, senior human rights and psychology double major: Little Rock Central High School - site of the Little Rock Nine integration implementation in 1957. Tree in front of Little Rock Central High School Display of an experiment conducted to investigate the effects of segregation on children in the museum section of the LRCHS National Historic Site. Black and white children favored white baby dolls over black dolls during a series of categorized tests. Protestors for segregation - Recognize any commonalities to modern time political and social issues? Lady Opportunity - One of the Greek goddess located above the main entrance of Little Rock Central High School. This statue [...]
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), [...]
An update from Kayla, a sophomore human rights and economics double major: The Civil Rights Memorial and Museum in Montgomery, Alabama, opened my eyes to what fighting for human rights is all about; it's not doing something to make you feel good, and it's not helping out one group and neglecting others. It's about fighting for the freedom and equality of everyone regardless of race, gender, sexuality, nationality, etc. It's about being the better person not because it makes you look better, but because it makes the community at large a better place for future generations. It's about doing right for all humans. Although in the back of my mind I had known this the whole time, today it was [...]
An update from Melanie Johnson, coordinator in the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs: To meet the civil rights leaders Mr. and Mrs. Robert S. Graetz in my lifetime is phenomenal. They fought for rights they had that others didn't, and for that their house was bombed three times and their lives threatened numerous times. I can't say it enough – THANK YOU!!!
An update from Celesstia, a senior political science and Spanish major with minors in philosophy and German: This trip has been more powerful than I anticipated. I knew that this would be a tremendous learning experience, but today I finally fully understood that I’m not only learning about history that before this week seemed far removed from me, but I am also learning about myself. I am learning more about who I am and the kind of person I want to be. Participating in this pilgrimage made me realize that we are all connected to the civil rights movement. Not only do we all directly benefit from the work and sacrifices of thousands of people, but in many ways the [...]
An update from Melanie Johnson, coordinator in the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs: Pilgrims participated in the march across Edmund Pettus Bridge in commemoration of 'Bloody Sunday'
The Civil Rights Pilgrims are also posting on Facebook. Great group shot of this year's pilgrims with U.S. House Representative Terri Sewell and Mayor of Montgomery Todd Strange.