Day 2 - Sunday, July 10

A question that we thought of on Sunday was "how did people in the civil rights movement keep their movement non-violent?" 

We were disturbed by the Ku klux klan robe and members actions that we discovered in the civil rights institute. We don't have a picture because it's too creepy.

We learned about rabbit tobacco which is good for asthma and taught the southerners about rhubarb which is good for pie.

We experienced God in the 16th street baptist church when the reverend preached about the black lives matter movement.

At the 16th street baptist church we felt very welcomed by everyone, even the people who mark and Leslie hadn't set up to meet with us.

 

- Megan and Chloe

Day 6 - Thursday, July 14

We started our day by driving to Philadelphia, Mississippi where we saw a memorial at Mount Zion Church to the three men killed in freedom summer; Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner. The men (two white and one black) were in Mississippi to register blacks to vote.

For lunch, we went to a classic southern diner where we drank our weight in sweet tea and enjoyed some authentic corn, rice and gravy, fried chicken and corn bread. After eating we listened to the story of Jewel Rush McDonald. She was just a young girl in the 60's and remembers Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner knocking her door to register her mother to vote the day that they were murdered. Her mother and brother were brutally beaten the day that Mount Zion Church was attacked.

After this, we drove to Greenwood Mississippi. It was shocking to see the disparity between the 'white' and 'black' neighborhoods. There were shotgun houses with broken windows and chipped paint and three blocks down the street were 6 bedroom brick homes with beautiful, perfectly trimmed grass. We had dinner in the Crystal Cafe which was lovely and the waitress thought we were very funny. The evening ended with swimming in the hotel (which was both indoor, and outdoor!)


Peace,

Margaret

Day 3 - Monday, July 11

Hello everyone this is Nathan Caspar, one of the many passionate and excited youth here on the civil rights trip. Today was a Monday, but not just any old Monday. As the gang slowly wound up and got everything together we joined in our hotel for a grand breakfast full of laughter gourmet food and nectar of the gods. Now I should tell you, that's a lie. The food was less than average and we were all tired, but none the less it did the job. We pooled into the vans and headed over to the kings chapel where Martin Luther King jr preached, and ironically enough, just down the way was the Capitol of Montgomery where many marches and protests occurred. We walked around the Capitol for a few minutes and while beautiful in architecture and paintings and such, the whole place was a little eere and scary. Laid across the grounds were statues idolizing many so called "white hero's" who did horrific things. On top of that, to the left of the building there was a Confederate memorial which was very disturbing for many of us to see. We said enough was enough and headed down to the equal justice initiative where we were all amazed. We learned a great deal about lynchings in America as well as mass incarceration and some of the work that this group does. One of the most powerful things there was a wall of jars that were filled with various colors and textures of dirt. Each jar was comprised of earth from a place where a lynching had taken place in Alabama. As we headed back to the hotel we stopped to see the brick a day church that had housed so many key members to the movement. As the rain came pouring down the group, quite bravely if I might add, ran with all their might from the cars to the library at Alabama state university (nearly a 15 meter sprint!). Of course JD being the character that he is, he just walked and let the rain "cleanse" him. In the library we looked at a display showing many key people including mr. Gretz who we would meet along with his wife when we returned to the hotel. Bob and geanie gretz were an inspiration to us all as they talked about there experiences being white people who cared and were loving friends with black people. Next we had dinner at Jason's deli (yeah there was ice cream) and came back to hear Valda speak about her experience where her family housed many amazing people including the freedom riders and king himself grew up a few houses down and spent lots of time at valdas house. We then reflected on the day as a group and discussed what we need to do going forward from this trip. After the more serious stuff was over we headed out the pool for some good laughs and cool water. Before we knew it it was the next day.

Nathan Caspar

Day 5 - Wednesday, July 13

On Wednesday we visited the gravesite of Jimmy Lee Jackson, an African American man murdered while trying to protect his family members. His death, which received no consequences, spurred nationwide outrage and motivated peaceful protesters to organize the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, later labeled the American Civil Rights Movement's "Bloody Sunday"

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Today we walked across the Edmund Pettis bridge. It was on this bridge where the senseless beating of marchers of the movement occurred in 1965. This became known as Bloody Sunday. After listening to stories of marchers, or "footsoldiers," who were involved in this event, walking over the same bridge that they did inspired us. We feel that if they could march on with the courage and determination that they did, despite the unimaginable consequences, then we can continue and hopefully finish the march today.

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Day One, Saturday, July 9

Saturday, July 9 we began our Civil Rights Pilgrimage with ECLC youth, finding ourselves somewhere in the tension between frustration and hope. Appreciating how far the movement has come, knowing it hasn't come nearly far enough. Foot soldiers and others, like those we'll be meeting every day have done much work, but still...there is more to do.

Frustration comes from the real-time, recent deaths of Philando and Alton, and the policemen shot during what was intended to be a peaceful protest in Dallas. Saturday's inspiration came as we joined in the energy, passion, courage, strength, songs, and stories of the Reverend Calvin Woods, Myrna Carter Jackson, Myrna's son, and Myrna's granddaughter. It also comes as we follow along the locations and stories of the Freedom Riders. Since this first day there has been more.

This week, hope is in-the-flesh real. During our first days of the pilgrimage we stood at Kelly Ingram Park with hope. We heard the stories of hope. We sang the songs of hope. We dialogued in a hotel conference room with hope. We walked alongside and embraced hope. We took pictures of, and had our pictures taken with, hope. We worshiped at the 16th Street Baptist Church with hope. We even marched with hope. Hope met us in the voices of Myrna Carter Jackson and the Reverend Calvin Woods. Both Myrna and the Reverend Woods were key leaders in the demonstrations and protest marches here in Birmingham, Alabama.

Calvin stood with us just beyond a memorial of the 4 small girls killed in the Klan's 16th Street Baptist Church bombing (the first black church in Birmingham, and the meeting place for many rallies, where the children gathered for training prior to marching), and brought the word at the foot of a park sign posted in his honor.

Also on Saturday, on her 75th birthday no less, Myrna shared stories of being one of over 3,000 children who gathered at the 16th Street Baptist Church for training, then marched peacefully downtown where they were arrested. It is an ugly story of jailed children, over-filled paddy wagons, courage, fear, water hoses, dogs, and the Klan.

#civilrightspilgrimage #eclcyouth #bethechange

Listening to the stories of a grandmother in the park, in Birmingham  

Listening to the stories of a grandmother in the park, in Birmingham  

Honoring the 4 young girls killed in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing  

Honoring the 4 young girls killed in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing  

Kelly Ingram Park...A place of prayer

Kelly Ingram Park...A place of prayer

These stories are difficult, but important to tell  

These stories are difficult, but important to tell  

Waiting to meet with the Reverend Calvin Woods, Civil Rights Pioneer and Pastor

Waiting to meet with the Reverend Calvin Woods, Civil Rights Pioneer and Pastor

The most dynamic, Reverend Calvin Woods

The most dynamic, Reverend Calvin Woods

Stories of a life well-lived

Stories of a life well-lived

Change Agents in the world

Change Agents in the world

Together with Myrna and her granddaughter  

Together with Myrna and her granddaughter  

A place of revolution, reconciliation, and resolve  

A place of revolution, reconciliation, and resolve  

Be the change

Be the change

Could you get on the bus? 

Could you get on the bus?