Throughout the trip we will provide updates on how the trip is going and post pictures of the day's activities.
Day 1: Sunday, November 17, 2013
We have finally made it to Vicksburg! After an early 5am start it has been a long day of cozy bus rides. We made our first pit stop at LBJ Library and Museum in Austin at 8:30am. There were 3 floors of exhibits that examined Lyndon B. Johnson as the man himself, his presidency, and the impact he had on events that were happening during his time in office. We were able to debrief our experience as well as take a 1965 Alabama literacy test that was given as pre-requisites to voting rights towards African-Americans. These literacy tests were extremely hard and detail oriented, making them difficult for both the students and the chaperons to pass. After the test we were able to make connections between the barriers of voting rights for African-Americans and the modern day voting rights in Texas (Voter ID’s). After our conversations we were able to have a sweet picnic outside the library filled with sandwiches, fruit, chips, and other goodies. We then headed to Shreveport, Louisiana to take over the CiCi’s pizza for a much needed dinner at 6:30pm. After getting back on the bus we finally arrived in Vicksburg, Mississippi around 11pm. We are exhausted and heading to bed to get rested for a full day!!! GET PUMPED!
Day 2: Monday, November 18, 2013
After a long ride down to Mississippi from San Antonio, our day began bright and early at 7:45. David Maggio led us on a tour through Vicksburg Cemetery, explaining the history of the cemetery and how it has grown and changed as new discoveries of Confederate soldier identities and gravesites were made. Students each had the name of a Confederate soldier who died for their Civil War Soldier project. From there, we took a bus tour of the battlefield and made several stops to view siege structures and learn about the battles and maneuvers that took place before and during the siege. We also saw the Cairo, a Union ironclad ship, before loading up the buses once more to travel to Birmingham, Alabama. The junior team took this opportunity to create a real life connection for their interdisciplinary project over projectiles, quadratic functions, and polynomials.
In Birmingham, we stopped at the Summit shopping center for incredible dining options. Travel groups chose from Johnny Rocket’s, FLIP Burger boutique, P.F. Chang’s, Cheesecake Factory, or Zoe’s Kitchen, and everyone came back full of great food, fun conversation, and with renewed energy—which will be needed tomorrow as we head into the civil rights portion of our travel experience, beginning tomorrow. See y’all tomorrow! :)
Day 3: Tuesday, November 19, 2013
The weather turned colder today in Birmingham, but we kept spirits up and energy high throughout the day! Conversation sparked immediately as we took the Freedom Walk around the statues at Kelly Ingram Park and witnessed jazz legend Doc Adams (who by all accounts is wise, relateable, and hilarious), speak to us and play the clarinet and saxophone at the Jazz Hall of Fame.
Our knowledge and understanding of the civil rights movement's history, influence, and effect grew and deepened as we visited the 16th Street Baptist Church; held a dialogue with Children's March participant Janice Kelsey during which students responded to Ms. Kelsey's story with insightful comments and questions; and engaged with the vivid, informative, and emotional exhibits at the Civil Rights Institute. Debrief conversations after today's incredibly real learning experiences were full of insightful comments, probing questions, and genuine engagement with some heavy topics, themes, trends, and issues of the past and the present.
Want to know what happens when 120 Juniors set sail for Montgomery, Alabama and step foot in the same church Dr Martin Luther King, Jr was once a pastor? Tune into see what ISA students do next!
Day 4: Wednesday, November 20, 2013
We departed Birmingham early this morning and headed on our favorite buses to historic Montgomery. The city welcomed us with refreshing air and a sense that the ideas, themes, and connections we have been exploring are not left in the past.
In Montgomery, we visited the state capitol building at the end of the famous Dexter Avenue, path of the freedom marchers. It also includes our next stop, Dexter Avenue Church, where Martin Luther King, Jr was pastor from 1954-1960, and where the Montgomery bus boycott was organized. Then it headed down the street to the Civil Rights Memorial Center, where a passionate, emphatic speaker presented information, insights, and personal anecdotes about hate groups and the difference between racism and prejudice, stereotyping, and racial profiling.
Conversations from the speaker and from the last several days of experiences weighed heavily on us all, so we took a small step back from the emotional week by bowling (or trying to bowl). But we got back into important dialogue with debriefing, brainstorming for our social injustice projects, and watching an excerpt about Bloodyfrom the Eyes on the Prize documentary.
This helped us prepare for tomorrow's adventures. How? Come backto find out!
Sending warm wishes and promises that we are safe and sound.
Day 5: Thursday, November 21, 2013
Day 6: Friday, November 22, 2013