Reverend Robert Graetz was the only white minister in Montgomery willing to help Dr. King with the bus boycott, with Associate Professor and trip leader Ben Voth. "I was honored to give this civil rights hero my book about my favorite civil rights hero James Farmer Jr.," says Voth.
First Baptist Church in Montgomery, where Freedom Riders were trapped in 1961. Dexter Avenue Baptist Church where King was first pastor and led the Montgomery bus boycott.
An update from student Tannah O.: Today we visited the Civil Rights Memorial, the historic Dexter Avenue Church, and the Equal Justice Initiative office in Montgomery, Alabama. The Civil Rights Memorial was powerful, to say the least. It had an exhibit to memorialize the 40 people killed in direct relation to the modern Civil Rights Movement, which of course included so many of the faces we have learned about so far on this trip (Till, Chaney, Schwerner, Goodman, Liuzzo, Reeb, Evers and King) along with so many other people brutally murdered by hate groups like the KKK. In another room, contemporary issues of hate were addressed, such as the deaths of Heather Heyer (woman who was killed at the Charlottesville riot protesting against the alt-right), Islan [...]
An update from student Sadiya P.: Today's trip, we visited one of my utmost favorite place and organization ever: the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)/Civil Rights Memorial Center. Ever since I got into activism and human rights as a teenager, the Southern Poverty Law Center has been one of my inspirations. It is the type of work I want to commit to. They have done so much in creating awareness in regards to the many different types of hate groups and discrimination that exist in the United States as well as around the world. As a Muslim, they were one of the organizations I could always trust to clarify hate groups and hate mongers. They have inspired a young girl, [...]
An update from student Justin E.: Today we were exposed to the Tuskegee Syphilis study conducted by the United States Public Health Service. This federally funded medical study raised questions about bioethics and medical research guidelines. In 1932, Dr. Tolliver Clark decided to exploit poor, rural African Americans using deception to discover the natural course of syphilis in the human body. He recruited 600 black men, 399 with syphilis and 201 without. African American nurse Eunice Rivers helped recruit and deceive the men that participated in the study. Essentially, the physician pretended to treat the infected men, but in reality simply observed how their bodies were affected by syphilis. The study lasted until Peter Buxton, who worked for the [...]
During spring break 2018, students, faculty and staff take an eight-day bus journey to visit the American South’s civil rights landmarks and leaders in the movement. Led by Ben Voth, SMU director of debate and associate professor of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs, the stops include Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas; the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama; Montgomery’s Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, where Dr. Martin Luther King served as pastor; the campus of Ole Miss in Oxford; and the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, where Dr. King was assassinated.
From Ruhi D. a first-year pre-business major: Today, about 70 years after the end of the second world war, the effects of the Holocaust are still felt today. Each picture holds a memory. Each memorial is filled with tears. And each site still echoes with the cries of all the lives lost. The air around each site gets thicker and thicker, and each site visited feels just a little bit harder to breathe in. The aura around each camp or memorial transports you back in time to feel a fraction of the pain felt by the innocent people not even a century ago. Each camp feels so alive, yet so dead at the same time. Alive from the fresh memories [...]
From Ruhi D. a first-year pre-business major: We often forget that part of our duty as humans is to act humanely. When atrocities such as the holocaust occur it causes us to pause and question how such a large group of people seem to have lost their humanity when treating innocent humans the way they did. Not only were humans treated like they were worse than the scum on the bottom of your shoe, but their mere identity as a human was stripped from them. If they weren’t immediately sent to a death camp, they were forced to toil away years in a labor camp where many suffered tremendously before perishing. However, even during this terrible time there was sometimes [...]
I really enjoy doing laundry. My girlfriend likes to tease me about it, but it’s true. I enjoy the routine of it. My favorite part is ironing. It’s almost as good as taking a nap. My mind gets to relax and wander as I go through the motions of pressing the wrinkles out of my clothes for the work week. But I know that when it comes to enjoying laundry, I’m pretty much alone in that opinion. At Walt Disney World, that certainly was the case 25 years ago. Trust me, there are few operations as important to the existence of Walt Disney World as the laundry unit, but nobody wanted to work in it back then. Tens of thousands [...]
Lamisa was one of 48 students to participate in the Northwestern University Community for Human Rights' 15th annual conference. The conference featured keynote speakers, panels and learning events exploring the topic of deconstructing memory within human rights.