While the focus of our trip may feel heavy, we also know how important it is to take time to have some fun and be a little goofy. Our group encountered a giant green mushroom in Montgomery, AL, and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to perch underneath for a quick photo.
Participants of the Civil Rights tour spend some moments of awe and reflection in the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA, part of the MLK national historic park. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. began his career as a pastor in this church which resides in the “Sweet Auburn” section of Atlanta, delivering many inspiring sermons and speeches from the pulpit just beyond the red velvet ropes in the photo. The recorded words of Dr. King are played and echoed for visitors to hear in this sacred space.
The Woolworth Building, in Greensboro, NC; famous for the 1960 “Greensboro Four” sit-in, has been turned into the International Civil Rights Museum. We had a guided tour of this powerful museum, which not only provides a comprehensive look into the full Civil Rights Movement, but also contains the original lunch room, counter, and seats where the Greensboro Four (four freshmen from North Carolina Agriculture and Technical) planned and carried out a sit-in that sparked a movement of sit-ins to protest racial segregation that spread like wildfire across the US. The visit inspired us not only to think about the progress of racial justice since the Civil Rights Movement, but also how much work still needs to be done.
The Civil Rights group had a long, tiring, and wonderful day. We started off the day bright and early at 6:30am, which is when same-day tickets are available online for the National Museum of African American History and Culture. We were lucky enough to secure enough tickets for our whole group! After visiting the Lincoln Memorial and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, we headed off to the NMAACH. One could easily spend 4 or 5 full days in this powerful museum and still not see everything. Our journey through the museum was emotional and enriching, and was the perfect foundation for the rest of our journey to come. Our Amtrak train out of DC will land us in Greensboro, NC where we will explore the historic Woolworth building made famous by the “Greensboro Four” and the sit-in that sparked a movement.
It’s impossible to examine the Civil Rights Movement without taking a close look at the history of slavery in America. And it’s impossible to take a close look at slavery in America without talking about the important role of Abraham Lincoln in emancipation.