Civil Rights Pilgrimage 2014

2014 marks the 10th Anniversary of the SMU Civil Rights Pilgrimage. The eight-day bus journey takes students, faculty and staff to visit the American South’s civil rights landmarks and leaders in the movement. The group’s 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.

To the Foot Soldiers, Freedom Riders, and Civil Rights Activists

An update from Lisa, a senior psychology and human rights major: To the Foot Soldiers, Freedom Riders, and Civil Rights Activists I do not intend to change the world. I intend to change a mind or two in my world. I hope to inspire others to change the minds of others in this world. I intend to change me. I am encouraged by the way you moved. I am inspired by the way you acted. I am touched by your words, but words alone do not break the backs of the powerful oppressors. Action transforms. Proactive people are pros at active thinking and powerful activity. I want to be (pro)active like you. When I sit here I am impatient because [...]

2014-03-24T09:46:23+00:00 March 24th, 2014|Civil Rights Pilgrimage 2014|

Recharged and Inspired

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, [...]

2014-03-17T11:31:32+00:00 March 17th, 2014|Civil Rights Pilgrimage 2014|

Little Rock Central High School

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 [...]

2014-03-17T11:30:34+00:00 March 17th, 2014|Civil Rights Pilgrimage 2014|

‘Thank you’ to those who led the way

An update from Denice, a graduate student in Liberal Studies, with an emphasis on social justice and human rights: The poem "Hands," by previous SMU Civil Rights Pilgrim Chrysta Brown, brought the events of the past to the forefront of my mind. Her poem expresses the appreciation of those well known and those unknown Heroes and Sheroes of the Movement through imagery of hands. I think of those that went before me, paving the way for my freedom, education, ability to choose where to live and the ability to choose a career. I, too, would like to touch their hands and give a personal "Thank You!" to each and every one. There is no real way to do this but [...]

2014-03-17T09:28:18+00:00 March 17th, 2014|Civil Rights Pilgrimage 2014|

Civil rights movement isn’t over

An update from Jillian, a senior anthropology and human rights major: As our trip comes to an end, I find myself very challenged by the ironic juxtaposition of the history of the Civil Rights Movement and the real-time condition of the movement's participants. During our visit at Mt. Zion Church yesterday, our guest speaker was asked what the individuals who spent great time and energy fighting for the right to vote did after they had succeeded. The answer she gave was simple, yet shocking: they went back home. The current reality for those who fought and advocated for civil rights, in addition to their children, continues to be one of perpetual poverty and societal oppression. While we cannot forget about [...]

2014-03-17T09:29:34+00:00 March 14th, 2014|Civil Rights Pilgrimage 2014|

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|
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