This semester, I was invited to participate in a Civil Rights Movement seminar. The first half of the class was historical content. After that, we would all take a trip to Georgia and Alabama and visit key historical sites and museums about the Black Civil Rights Movement in the 60’s. The second half of the course (from about now on) is designed to be a community outreach effort. Basically, it was a few months of history, 4 days of intense, emotional impact – experiencing the kind of influence the movement really had – and then back to Provo to speak to campus groups, high schools, and whoever else will listen about racism and its effects. It was an amazing experience (and still is!)
The first site we saw in Atlanta was the Martin Luther King museum. Here are a few pictures:
I think the highlight of the day was touring the home that Dr. King grew up in. “Daddy King,” Martin’s father, preached at Ebenezer Baptist Church, just around the corner. (We tried to tour that, too, but a 6th grade class had the same brilliant idea, and we were overrun by stampede of schoolchildren.) The home was a large, middle-class house, and most of the furniture and decorations had been restored as they were when he was growing up. the most impressive thing, however, was the way he grew up. In most households of the time – black or white – children were “heard but not seen.” Not the case in the King household. Every night, the King household would sit down to dinner together, and every child would recite a scripture. (Martin’s favorite verse was, “Jesus wept.”) After reciting a scripture, the children were expected to join in conversation, and talk about local events reported in the paper, debating about their importance and impact. Is it any wonder that Martin grew to be such an amazing speaker and influential man?
Dinner was also inspiring. We headed to the food court and decided against What the Chicken,”because I had discovered that there was a Johnny Rockets nearby – and if you know anything about me, it is that I will do anything legal for a good cheeseburger. What I didn’t suspect was an apple pie milkshake – as in, somebody put a piece of apple pie in a blender and served it to me in a cup. It was like shooting straight sugar into my veins. I was so hyper. I think I scared people. ♦