Civil Rights Summer Program
Learn about American history from slavery to current social justice issues on this teen trip
Now more than ever, it is important that we learn about the history of slavery and civil rights so that we can move forward to create a more equitable and just future. This program digs into the many social justice issues of our past while traveling across the American South. Visit powerful museums and have conversations with locals who lived through significant moments of our history. Do hands-on community service that brings us into these communities and has an impact on the very country we live in.
Fly down with your group and arrive in the Crescent City to begin your new adventure of culture and history. As you settle in, you’ll start to learn about what makes New Orleans so unique and important in our history. We’ll do orientation activities and get prepped for what the weeks ahead hold. After that, we head over to the Whitney Plantation, where we’ll learn about the complex history of southern plantations. We will take a somber step back to the days of slavery, an important perspective to gain as we continue our conversation on Civil Rights.
We depart New Orleans and head towards Alabama! En route, we stop in Selma to walk the Edmund Pettus Bridge, while reflecting on the powerful stand people made there back in 1965. We then drive the route of the Civil Rights March from Selma to Montgomery. We spend these days visiting landmark civil rights sites. Must-sees there include the National Memorial For Peace and Justice; Dexter Avenue King Memorial Church; and the Rosa Parks Museum. We delve into discussions with members of the Southern Poverty Law Center about how this history is still relevant in today’s world.
After our informative and introspective time in Montgomery, we stop by another essential location on the US Civil Rights Trail: Birmingham, AL. As many black homes and places of worship were bombed during the 1950s and 1960s, Birmingham became central in the fight to ending the Jim Crow era. While here, we will visit some of these historic sites and learn the influence Birmingham had on the Civil Rights Movement. We will also swing by a favorite pastime and attend a minor league baseball game!
Our next stopping point is the heart of blues, soul, and rock ‘n’roll! On this part of our journey, we get some insight on the essential cultural contributions of people of color as we visit local musical hotspots and studios. We’ll even get a taste of making music with an African drumming lesson! We also further our knowledge on historical context as we take a step back in time into some of the most influential moments of the Civil Rights Movement. And, of course, we can’t visit Memphis without getting a taste of some of the country’s best barbecue and fried chicken!
As we head back to New Orleans, we take a stop by the Mississippi Freedom Trail and Jackson. Here we have the opportunity to volunteer in historical archives, preserving much of what we learned so that future people can be enriched by the lessons of those before us. We then head back to the vibrant city of New Orleans to wrap up the trip! Our time in Nola will introduce us to a unique and unforgettable culture as we we walk through the Tremé, a neighborhood that was established for free people of color, while learning about Mardi Gras Indians, the cultural epicenter of Congo Square, and the impact of Hurricane Katrina. We celebrate the end of this journey by enjoying some time in the French Quarter and hopping on a swamp tour. We make sure to take the time to reflect upon our experience and how the history we learned still plays out today. Though it’s sad to leave, we’ll have gained new perspective on the Civil Rights Movement with many new tales to tell of the people and culture that made your experience memorable!
Please note that, given the unprecedented nature of travel currently, this itinerary is subject to change.
Community Service Projects
While staying in Montgomery, the group will lodge in a historic hotel in the heart of the city. Lodging is 2-3 students per room. We will be able to walk to many civil rights landmarks from the hotel.
Stay in a locally run, community oriented hostel. This lodging is located in a vibrant, artsy Memphis neighborhood. There will be 4-6 students per room.
Our lodging in New Orleans are floating cabins on the bayou. Each cabin can host 3-5 students. Set on the beautiful Louisiana wetlands, each cabin is equipped with a full kitchen, living room and bathroom.