Civil Rights Education Trip Enlightening
Drew Kampmeier, Grade 11
April 11, 2017
The trip to Alabama was both an enlightening and human experience.
Our first day we went to The King Center in Atlanta. We were able to see where Martin Luther King was buried alongside his wife Coretta Scott King. We then went to the museum nearby, which showed a video tour of where Dr. King was born. After the video, we toured the actual house. The neighborhood was restored to make it look exactly like it was back in the 1930s when MLK lived there. Our final stop of the day was going to a church where Dr. King gave one of his sermons. Our entire group just sat listening and taking in the audio of one of his speeches.
The next day we went to the Southern Poverty Law Center Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama. It was really cool seeing the Civil Rights Memorial just covered in water. We also learned there that simply knowing something isn't enough, people must take action. After the museum, we went to the house where King lived as a pastor. Our guide, Mrs. Sherry, shared her wisdom about King. As we went from room to room she told us about what happened in that room, making the tour a more immersive experience.
Our final stop of the day in Montgomery was going to the Rosa Parks museum where we learned about the Bus Boycott. We learned that Rosa Parks wasn't just some brave soul who refused to get out of her seat, but in reality, she was an activist in the Civil Rights Movement. She also did things later on in her life to help people across the world, truly making a difference.
The next day we drove to Birmingham and visited the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church where the infamous church bombing took place. After visiting the church, we visited the Birmingham Civil Rights Museum, which was, by far, the best one. This museum was definitely the most moving of the museums because there were so many interactive and immersive exhibits. There were powerful works of art and videos that truly made you realize that these horrible things actually happened to human beings.
The Birmingham museum was an amazing way to end the day, providing a sense of pride for how far we've come, as well as the knowledge to know we have more work to do.
The next day we went to Selma, Alabama and started with a church service. After the service, we walked across the Edmond Pettis Selma bridge where Bloody Sunday had occurred. It was a very powerful experience to see all the people crossing the bridge and imagining what it must have been like to be one of the protesters on that fateful day.
On our last day, we first went to the First Confederate White House where Jefferson Davis had lived. We saw what his house looked like at the time, as well as some of the relics that he used when he was alive.
We then traveled to the Tuskegee Airmen Historical Site where we learned about the hardships of being a black airman. We learned that the airman had to work hard not only for themselves but their entire race.
Our last stop was in Atlanta where we visited the Atlanta Human Rights Center. The center had some documents that Dr. King had written as well as his college transcript. We visited the interactive museum where we went through a simulation of what it would be like to be in one of the sit-ins that took place. It was shocking to see what people are capable of. This concluded our five-day trip.
The Civil Rights Trip is one of the greatest experiences CDH offers if you want to learn about history and justice.