Eighth graders from Jennifer Swift’s class at The Paideia School created an interactive map based on the Civil Rights Tour they took in February. While their photos and recollections from each stop are included below, for the complete experience of the trip enjoy the interactive Civil Rights Tour Maphere.
On Feb, 14-15, our eighth-grade class went on a civil rights tour of Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama. The trip connected to our race, class and gender course, in which we have been studying race. The trip was very impactful, and even though it was only two days long, our whole class learned so much more about the civil rights movement from perspectives that you don’t usually learn about in class. Being there, at the sight of historic victories and losses in the struggle of African-Americans for their civil rights, was an awe-inspiring moment. It’s one thing to learn about the effort, and eventual victories, of the civil rights movement, but it is a completely different experience to be there, where such amazing figures have stood up for what they believe in. Also, going to the museums and seeing how much pride the community has in the events that have happened in their city was inspiring. We saw how the community embraces the fact that there was extreme racism and violence and horrible acts committed there, but they choose to focus more on the bravery and sacrifice of the people who participated in the civil rights movement.
Chris: The Rosa Parks museum gives you a great visualized tour of how Rosa Parks defended herself on the bus. I think that the way they present the museum is great because you are walking through the timeline. The way they set up the museum makes it easy to remember, and you get to see how Rosa Parks made it through her life and how many black people stood up for equal rights. Our experience at the Rosa Parks museum was like traveling back in time. We first watched a video on Rosa Parks and how she impacted the world. When the video finished, we walked into a room that showed exactly what Rosa Parks said and did.
Jacob M.: The Rosa Parks museum was a great place to learn more about Rosa Parks. It had a simulation of Rosa Parks and how she was arrested. She refused to give up her seat to a white male and was asked to leave. She refused. The driver called the police, and she was arrested. This created a boycott that lasted a year. People of color refused to ride the buses, so that led to bus drivers going out of business. Right before things became corrupted, they announced that segregation would not be allowed on the buses. Even though the buses weren’t segregated, many of the stops and benches near the bus stop were still segregated. My favorite part of the museum was the simulation after the video. It made everyone believe we were in that time on that bus. It felt so real!
Sophia: When I first saw the Freedom Rides Museum, it seemed small with little information, but the tour guide proved me wrong. When our class walked in, she greeted us with a smile and made sure that everyone was involved. She constantly asked questions for us to stay engaged and immediately answered any questions we had thoroughly. I found it interesting that she made sure that we would always think about the situations that the Freedom Riders faced and ask ourselves: What would we do in their situation? At times, she regaled to us about the Freedom Riders to such an extent that it felt like we had become a Freedom Rider and were experiencing their same situations. She never talked for the Freedom Riders, but she did show how much she knew about them through her stories. She definitely made the museum a much more enjoyable place and made it easier to understand and appreciate the Freedom Riders.
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