Civil Rights Trip 2019 Reflections: Day 4

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Civil Rights Trip 2019 Reflections: Day 4

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During Haynes’s Spring Break, a select group of 35 students is tracing the Civil Rights Movement through the South, driving from D.C. to North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee. Follow their reflections and updates here, and on Instagram (@elhcivilrights).

Today I learned a tremendous amount at the Lowndes Interpretation Center. I learned about a group called Dallas County Voters League (DCVL) who met secretly in homes and offices of Selma, the county seat. The group worked hard to help African Americans register to vote, but had added only a few names to the rolls by 1963. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) started sending civil rights workers to Selma in February 1963 and helped DCVL run monthly classes on how ro pass the literacy test. Jim Clark, the county sheriff, harrassed and arrested group leaders who came to the meetin to register to vote. Meetings where forbidden and stopped by the state court. Several members of the DCVL continued to meet in secret calling themselves “Courage Eight.” With Joanne Bland I got to learn about what it means to be a leader and the issues with softening history. Many people say this is “black history” when in reality it’s American history. Another misconception is that people say that some people that died in the fight for voting rights gave their lives, but their lives were taken from them because they weren’t given an option.

– Joan Valdez, 12th grade

I learned that I should respect everyone and their history even if I don’t agree or like it. I also learned that you can make a change no matter how old you are or who you are. I learned that that on Bloody Sunday blacks were still being beaten after they left off the Edmun Pettus Bridge in their neighborhoods. Whenever people say that they are not going to vote because their vote does not matter, I will tell them what Ms. Bland said to us: “You’re the missing piece of the puzzle.”

– Kevan Anderson, 11th grade

Today I learned more about Viola Liuzzo and how she was killed by the KKK because she was driving an African American home from the march from Selma to Montgomery. At the museum I learned that African Americans had to use cans to pee because they could not go to certain bathrooms. They were also given used books from whites schools. During lunch we met with Ms. Joanne Bland who at 11 years old crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. She taught me that African American history is a part of U.S. history.

– Juliana Martinez, 10th grade

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