January 1, 2015
SEATTLE – On New Year’s Day a group of Antioch University Seattle students will get a new perspective by looking into the past. Four students will leave to meet up with other university students from around the country for a civil rights tour of the south.
This story was covered by Seattle’s KING 5 News.
Given the new history that’s been written in 2014, this trip will take on a new meaning.
“I think we are in the midst of a new movement around racial justice,” said Mary Lou Finley, professor emeritus at Antioch University Seattle. “It’s beginning with the policing issues which we’ve all been talking about on the news. I think we will soon begin to get beneath that and look at what’s going on in those communities: what are the economic problems the communities are facing?”
This will be the sixth time Finley and students will experience historic places related to the civil rights movement in person. One of the leaders of the tour is civil rights leader Bernard LaFayette, a close colleague of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It’s that close connection to history Finley hopes students will gain so much from.
“We meet some of the people who were participants and many of whom are now in their 70s and 80s,” she said. “One woman we heard from a couple of years ago was 108 and she had started working on voting rights in Selma, Alabama in the 1930s. There are amazing stories that are not very well-known that come to life when we’re able to meet the people who were involved in those struggles.”
Liberia native Emmanuel Dolo has been in the United States 2 years and is going on the trip.
“People want to learn from America. We follow everything happening here,” he said. “Seeing is believing. This is why I’m going to go on this trip.”
Some of the stops this year: the Martin Luther King Center and Museum and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birth home in Atlanta, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta; the Albany Civil Rights Institute in Albany, Georgia; the St. Augustine Historical Museum in St. Augustine, Florida, where an intense 1964 campaign helped to persuade Congress to pass the 1964 Civil Rights Act; sites in Savannah, Georgia and St. Augustine, important in the pre-Civil War “Underground Railroad,” linking those earlier efforts to the civil rights era.