Miscellaneous » Interterm 2019 » Civil Rights Interterm

Civil Rights Interterm

 by Naomi Torres ('20), pictured with camera

This interterm was an enjoyable week-long trip that was filled with content that covered many aspects of the civil rights movement

  • Sunday: We walked the streets in Louisville, Ky., where we learned how the civil rights movement impacted the city.
  • Monday: We drove to Atlanta, Ga., to learn about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s leadership at Ebenezer Baptist Church.
  • Tuesday: We visited the Children’s March in Birmingham, Ala., and then the memorial of those who were killed for fighting for equal rights in Montgomery, Ala.
  • Wednesday: We visited the Lynching Memorial and Legacy Museum (Montgomery) to understand what the costs were for protesting equal rights or simply being of a different race. We also walked across the bridge in Selma, where protesters were violently arrested in 1965.
  • Thursday: Visited with the deputy mayor of Philadelphia, city close to the site of the Freedom Summer murders. We stayed at the Mashulaville Dormitory near Macon, Miss., where we met hosts Larry and Maxine (Kauffman ‘64) Miller and a local high school senior, Cortes, to hear about their life in the deep south.

This trip has connected me to places, events, and people in the civil rights movement that I have studied in class. Meeting people from these places narrowed the boundary of a “us” and “them” way of thinking. For example, at the Lynching Memorial, I strongly sympathized with the many young people—some my age—who were killed simply for being a different color. That moment caused me to move beyond the facts to reflect on the emotional side of what happened.

Reflections from others::

Peace Muhagachi (‘20): “I really appreciate having the opportunity to have tough discussions with my friends. This trip sparked important dialogue that I don't think would have taken place had we not been put in intense and sometimes uncomfortable situations, where we had to accept the truth about a lot of terrible things that took place. This interterm did a great job of paving the way for us students to become more knowledgeable about history [in the Deep South] as it greatly impacts their present as well as their futures. This was by far my favorite interterm and I hope more students continue to sign up for it.”

Andrew Hoang: “My favorite part of the trip was the interaction with people, not just my friends and teachers, but especially the people we met who willingly shared their thoughts and experiences. This is significant to me because [as a person of mixed race] racism is a sensitive topic and many times people are afraid to ask questions. Talking and listening to my classmates was a great opportunity for me.”

Malachi Lind (pictured center above): “The Lynching Memorial touched me in a personal way. Looking at the statue symbolizing slavery shocked me. I can't imagine what life would have been like [for me] in the 1960s. It was difficult to read the names of the people who were lynched. This is what happened to my ancestors. Now I am living an easier life in a way. It's sad that people were lynched and couldn't be identified. The main reason is the color of their skin. I still think about going through the memorial and seeing all those names. It will be a moment I will never forget about African-American history—let alone what is still going on to others.”


Andrew Smucker with the deputy mayor of Philadephipa and the Civil Rights Interterm group with Femi Hollinger-Janzen ('12) in Birmingham.

Read reflections by Clara Lind on her Interterm course: Film, Food, Philosphy, and Faith.