Civil Rights Experience
For High School Students
Sojourn Project’s living-history immersion Journey takes high school students along the path of the modern Civil Rights Movement. Making history relevant, visceral, and personal.
The stories and places we visit will be alternately uplifting, eye-opening, galvanizing, unvarnished, and real. Always educational. Most students return home inspired to raise awareness and challenge the pernicious impact prejudice and intolerance impose on our society. We must heed the lessons of yesterday for a better tomorrow.
Social activists and Little Rock Nine members Minnijean Brown-Trickey and Elizabeth Eckford explain how it felt braving constant intimidation, slurs, and threats breaking the color barrier at Little Rock High School. They talk about the troubles and triumphs on the front lines of desegregation and the Civil Rights Movement for more than 60 years, eager for the next generation to stand up to injustice.
Words can’t describe how it feels to stand downstairs, looking up at the Lorraine Motel, at 450 Mulberry Street, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered on April 4, 1968. Or file through Room 306, where Dr. King was staying, preserved as a memorial for eternity. A large white wreath hangs from the balcony in tribute.
We’re learning history – and empathy. Sojourn students meet Civil Rights icons for their firsthand accounts. They were not silent. Their voices were heard.
We’ll reenact the historic Selma to Montgomery march at Alabama’s State Capitol Building as Civil Rights protesters did in 1965 raising awareness of the difficulties faced by black voters, and the need for a national Voting Rights Act.
We’ll witness a dark time in American history. Reflecting on what each of us can do to make the world a better place, as we spend time and write compositions in the driveway where Civil Rights leader Medgar Evers was assassinated by a white supremacist.
Myrlie Evers-Williams and Reena Evers-Everette, Evers’ widow and daughter, often grace us with their presence, words of wisdom, and unwavering dedication to Civil Rights and equality.
We learn about the life and legacy of James Chaney at his gravesite. “Freedom Rider”, social reformer, Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) member, and one of three civil rights, human rights, and voter registration workers murdered in Mississippi in 1964 by the Ku Klux Klan.
Sojourn introduces us to the family of slain Civil Rights activist Vernon Dahmer. As they explain the events of January 10, 1966 and their terrible loss, we can almost smell the kerosene Klansmen used to firebomb their home. Dahmer died as a result of his burns the next day. He had been targeted because he encouraged fellow African Americans to register to vote during the Jim Crow era.
Spend precious time with the McNairs , the family of one of four little girls murdered in a Klan bombing at the 16th Street Baptist Church. One Carlmont High senior wrote, “Everything felt surreal. We were actually there.” The many heroes and icons of the Civil Rights Movement come alive as we tour Kelly Ingram Park, an epicenter for Civil Rights rallies, demonstrations, and confrontations in the 1960s.
Cross Selma’s famed Edmund Pettus Bridge and retrace the footsteps of 600 brave voting-rights marchers brutally assaulted on “Bloody Sunday”, March 7, 1965, by Alabama troopers and vigilantes with billy clubs, guns, whips, tear gas, and rubber tubing wrapped in barbed wire. The marchers’ efforts helped galvanize Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965. What would you do?
Take a private tour of The Center for Nonviolent Social Change, including the King Library and Archives, the largest repository in the world of primary source materials on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the American Civil Rights Movement. Deep-dive into Dr. King’s philosophy and strategy of nonviolence. We’ll pay our respects at the gravesites of Dr. King and Coretta Scott King. Their trials, tribulations, and massive contributions to modern society will not be forgotten.
Every Journey is curated to the academic needs of the participating high school. Our program is in alignment with the Common Core State Standards established by the California Department of Education. The process of designing a Journey is collaborative and reflective of the school’s curriculum.
This is about all of us.
Speak up. Don’t be silent.