Travelogue: Civil Rights Tour

This is the first travelogue for a summer that has been just filled with travel. During the last week of June I took a group of teachers on a Civil Rights tour of the South.

This is Laura Plantation, just north of New Orleans. It was a Creole sugar plantation filled with stories from its owner who wrote a fascinating memoir of life on the plantation.

One of the interesting things about Laura Plantation is that some of the original slave cabins still exist. They were lived in until the 1970s. There were THREE MILES of such cabins stretching back behind the main house. This is also where the first Brer Rabbit stories were recorded.

We put on some Zydeco tunes, bought some boiled peanuts on the side of the road, and drove up to Monroeville, Alabama, home of Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird. Here is the courthouse. We met some residents who were living in town when the book was published. It was interesting to talk with them and hear how the town responded to the book.

We switched our tunes over to O Brother, Where Art Thou and finished our drive in Birmingham, AL.
There we began a five day intense study of the Civil Rights Movement. We met Fred Gray (Rosa Parks' & MLK's lawyer), Dorothy Cotton (MLK's education coordinator), and numerous foot soldiers of the Civil Rights Movement. We walked over the Edmund Pettus Bridge, retracing the Voting Rights March.

We had many moving moments throughout the trip, including hearing one of the first freedom choirs perform songs from the movement and putting our hands in the soothing waters of the Maya Lin memorial.

We left just overwhelmed with admiration at the strength and dedication to justice of these people who were so significant in changing the world.

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