The 50th anniversary recognition of the Voting Rights March came to Selma, Alabama, this year and students from Jefferson County Open School were there to celebrate the historic event.
The students, 17 members of a year-long Black American …
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The students, 17 members of a year-long Black American History class, and two teachers left on March 4 to drive to Selma, and along the way they visited historical sites related to the civil rights movement like the Brown vs. Board of Education Historical Site in Topeka, Kansas, and the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee.
"We have done a civil rights trip several times before. This year is particularly special because it is the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights March, and, given the recent events concerning race in places like Ferguson and New York, we realized that this wasn't something we could miss out on," wrote junior Taylor Frisbee, in an email interview.
Students planned and paid for the trip themselves, Frisbee added.
While in Selma, the students will participate in workshops, listen to former and current voting rights activists and participate in the 54-mile march from Selma to Montgomery over five days.
"What made me want to go on the trip was my love for history. I am very interested in history, and this trip puts a place to that history," wrote Samuel Cox, a senior who is going on the trip. "I get to feel connected to something that changed lives, and changed minds. That is important to me."
Frisbee wrote she wanted to participate because of her passion for civil rights for all people.
"I think that race often gets forgotten in modern times because people feel disconnected from those types of issues. The excuses like 'we have a black president, how can racism still exist?' are far too common," Frisbee wrote.
For many of the students making the trip, it's a chance to see firsthand where history has been made, and is still changing the country.
"What inspires me about Selma is the gravity of what took place there, and the amount of lives affected by those events, and that I can be part of something that celebrates that," Cox wrote. "I am hoping to gain a sense of history, and a sense of how that history affects our everyday lives."
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