Expanding the Table for Racial Equity: Civil Rights Learning Journey Bus Tour

September 23, 2018

Since 2015, Leadership Greater Washington has embarked on a series of Leadership Exchanges dedicated to connecting LGW Members to prominent leadership programs on a national and international level.

The Putting Racism on the Table series will underscore the importance of understanding the history of race in America. After we complete this series, you are invited to explore history first-hand on a learning journey to the South. This is an opportunity to build a deeper understanding of the movement for civil rights and racial justice in America. Over the course of 3.5 days, we will visit major museums, houses of worship that played significant roles in the activism of the 1960s, and sites of key protests. We will meet individuals who were leaders on the ground in the 1960s and those who are pushing for change today.

Trip details:
Included: All site fees; ground transportation; single-occupancy hotel room each night; three dinners; four lunches. 
Not included: One-way airfare to Memphis & return from Birmingham; transportation to and from airports; breakfast each day; one dinner
Registration Deadline: June 1
Questions? Contact Rebekah Seder, seder@washingtongrantmakers.org 

Learning Journey Itinerary: 

Sunday, September 23, 2018 

12:00-5:00 pm: INDIVIDUAL ARRIVALS VIA MEMPHIS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (MEM) (Memphis, TN)
Early arrivals have the option to enjoy a number of Memphis attractions. Music lovers, head to Beale Street for live Delta Blues, or tour Elvis Presley’s Graceland or Sun Records. Memphis may be known for its great BBQ, but there are a variety of southern dishes to enjoy close to the hotel. Come early to enjoy the Southern hospitality on your own.

5:00 pm: PEABODY MEMPHIS HOTEL DUCK MARCH (Memphis, TN)
Every day since 1933, the Peabody Ducks have made the lobby marble fountain their home. In what began as a joke between two hunters, the twice-daily march of the ducks is now world-famous. Journeyers can enjoy the historic Peabody’s Italian Renaissance design in its beautiful lobby, music on the grand piano, and cocktails before the group dinner.

6:00 pm: GROUP DINNER AT THE PEABODY MEMPHIS HOTEL (Memphis, TN)
Group introductions, agenda overview, goals, and expectations. We will hear from our journey guide, Roscoe Jones, Sr. Read his bio here: 

Monday, September 24, 2018

9:00 am: MASON TEMPLE (Memphis, TN)
Mason Temple served as a focal point of civil rights activities in Memphis during the 1950s and 1960s. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his prophetic "Mountaintop" speech in this church on the eve of his assassination on April 3, 1968.

10:15 am: NATIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUM AT THE LORRAINE HOTEL (Memphis, TN) 


The National Civil Rights Museum is located at the former Lorraine Motel, where civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated on April 4, 1968. The museum is now led by former WRAG member, Terri Lee Freeman, who will welcome our delegation to the Memphis and the museum.

3:15 pm: BRYANT GROCERY & MEAT MARKET (Money, MS)
Bryant Grocery is ground zero for the Emmett Till story. On August 24, 1955, Till and several of his cousins and friends stopped at the store. Till was accused of flirting with Carolyn Bryant, a white woman working alone at Bryant's Grocery. After the encounter, Bryant’s husband and his half-brother abducted, tortured, and murdered Till. Historians suggest that the murder sparked a level of outrage that helped galvanize the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, by drawing national attention to injustices in the South. Speakers include Greenwood, MS native Sylvester Hoover, Founder of Delta Blues Legends Tours, and Patrick Weems, Director of the Emmett Till Interpretive Center located in Sumner, MS.

7:00 pm: GROUP DINNER AT THE HILTON GARDEN INN JACKSON DOWNTOWN/HISTORIC KING EDWARD HOTEL (Jackson, MS). We will hear from Jerry Mitchell, Hollis Watkins, and Flonzie Brown Wright. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

7:15 am: MEDGAR EVERS FAMILY HOME (Jackson, MS)


As a field worker for the NAACP, Evers traveled throughout his home state encouraging poor African Americans to register to vote while also recruiting them into the Civil Rights Movement. On June 12, 1963, Evers was shot to death in the driveway outside his home by a white supremacist sniper. Journeyers will be led in a conversation by local docents on the life and murder of Evers and the family’s lasting legacy in the Jackson, MS, and national civil rights movements.

10:15 am: MT. ZION UNITED METHODIST CHURCH (Philadelphia, MS)
On June 16, 1964, Mt. Zion United Methodist Church was burned down by the Ku Klux Klan. Before burning the church, Klan members severely beat several people who had been attending a meeting there. The burning led movement organizers James Chaney, Michael Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman to investigate. A day later, each had been murdered by a group of Ku Klux Klan members. Journeyers will hear historical accounts detailing the church burning, the church’s role in Freedom Summer, and the linkage between the church and movement activities.
Scheduled speakers include Jewel Rush McDonald and Evelyn Cole Calloway, both of whose immediate family members were beaten by the Ku Klux Klan the evening of the Mt. Zion church burning. Each will provide lived experiences detailing their time as children growing up in the segregated South, their choices to remain in the community as change agents, and their participation in the Philadelphia Coalition’s work towards racial reconciliation. 

11:40 am: MURDER SITE OF JAMES CHANEY, ANDREW GOODMAN & MICHAEL SCHWERNER (Neshoba County, MS)


After visiting the charred remains of Mt. Zion Church, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner were arrested by city police, held in jail without phone calls, and ordered to leave town. During their drive, a group of Ku Klux Klan members, including law enforcement, kidnapped and murdered them on Rock Cut Road. Their bodies were then taken to a dam that was under construction, where they were buried. Their bodies were not found for 44 days after an informant tipped off the FBI to their location. Journeyers will be led in discussion by a local historian whose work focuses on the details and fallout of the deaths.
We will hear from Dr. Lindon Ratliff of Mississippi State University-Meridian. Dr. Ratliff is a civil rights scholar and expert on the events leading up to and immediately following the murders of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner.

12:30 pm: FIRST UNION MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH (Meridian, MS)
First Union Missionary Baptist was the site of the memorial service for slain civil rights activist James Chaney. Journeyers will review the role the church played as a staging point for Meridian and Mississippi civil rights movements.

1:10 pm: OKATIBBEE MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH (Meridian, MS)
Location of the gravesite of slain civil rights activist James Chaney.  

3:30 pm: BROWN CHAPEL AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL (AME) CHURCH (Selma, AL)
Both the building and the members of Brown Chapel AME Church played pivotal roles in the Selma, AL, marches that helped lead to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The starting point for the Selma-to-Montgomery marches, Brown Chapel also hosted the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) for the first three months of 1965.

4:30 pm: EDMUND PETTUS BRIDGE (Selma, AL)


The Edmund Pettus Bridge was the site of Bloody Sunday on March 7, 1965, when armed police attacked Civil Rights Movement demonstrators with billy clubs and tear gas as they were attempting to march to the state capitol in Montgomery. The marchers crossed the bridge again on March 21 and successfully walked to the Capitol building. The bridge was declared a National Historic Landmark on March 11, 2013. Journeyers will cross the bridge together in honor of the demonstrators that came before them, led by Roscoe Jones, Sr.

4:50 pm: SELMA VOTING RIGHTS MEMORIAL PARK (Selma, AL)
Located at the base of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the park provides a space to reflect on the accomplishments of the Civil Rights Movement demonstrators in Selma.

7:00 pm: DINNER ON YOUR OWN (Montgomery, AL)
Journeyers are encouraged to enjoy Montgomery’s restaurants on their own, many of which are located within walking distance of our lodging at the Embassy Suites hotel.  

Wednesday, September 26, 2018 

9:00 am: THE ROSA PARKS MUSEUM AT TROY UNIVERSITY (Montgomery, AL)
Troy University’s Rosa Parks Museum is an active memorial to the life of civil rights icon Rosa Parks and the lessons of the Montgomery bus boycott that brought racial integration to transportation and international attention to civil rights.

10:15 am: SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER (Montgomery, AL)
The Southern Poverty Law Center monitors hate groups and other extremists throughout the U.S. and exposes their activities to law enforcement agencies, the media, and the public. Journeyers will view a documentary and have a brief dialogue with SPLC staff.

11:15 am: SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER’S CIVIL RIGHTS MEMORIAL (Montgomery, AL)
Created by Vietnam Veterans Memorial designer Maya Lin, the memorial is located across the street from the Southern Poverty Law Center's office building in Montgomery. A circular black granite table records the names of civil rights era martyrs and chronicles the history of the movement in lines that radiate like the hands of a clock.

11:30 am: ALABAMA STATE CAPITOL (Montgomery, AL)


It was here that the third Selma to Montgomery march ended on March 25, 1965, with 25,000 protesters at the foot of the capitol steps on Dexter Avenue. A delegation from the protestors attempted to see Governor George Wallace to give him a petition that asked for an end to racial discrimination in Alabama, but they were denied entry to the capitol grounds twice and told no one would be let through. State police surrounded the capitol and prevented the marchers' delegation entry to the grounds.

1:00 pm: DEXTER AVENUE KING MEMORIAL BAPTIST CHURCH (Montgomery, AL)
In this National Historic Landmark, see the modest pulpit where Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., first preached his message of hope and brotherhood. The church also served as a center point of the Montgomery bus boycott.

2:00 pm: DEXTER AVENUE KING MEMORIAL BAPTIST CHURCH PARSONAGE (Montgomery, AL)
Dexter Parsonage has been the historic home to 12 pastors of the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Between the years of 1954 and 1960, Dr. King began his career as a minister, emerged as a civil rights activist and leader during the Montgomery bus boycott, and began a family with his wife Coretta.

3:30 pm: THE EQUAL JUSTICE INITIATIVE NATIONAL MEMORIAL FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE (Montgomery, AL)
The Equal Justice Initiative, led by Bryan Stevenson, is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society. Journeyers will have a dialogue with EJI staff and visit the newly opened National Memorial for Peace and Justice, the nation’s first comprehensive memorial dedicated to over 4,400 victims of racial terror lynchings.

7:00 pm: GROUP DINNER AT THE EMBASSY SUITES BIRMINGHAM HOTEL & CONFERENCE CENTER (Birmingham, AL)
Debrief discussion and “making meaning” dialogue led by WRAG journey leaders.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

8:30 am: KELLY INGRAM PARK (Birmingham, AL)
Kelly Ingram Park, located just outside the doors of the 16th Street Baptist Church, served as a central staging ground for large-scale demonstrations during the Civil Rights Movement. Sculptures telling the Birmingham civil rights movement story can now be viewed throughout the park, including vivid depictions of police dog and fire hose assaults on demonstrators, many of them children.

9:00 am: 16TH STREET BAPTIST CHURCH (Birmingham, AL)


The 16th Street Baptist Church bombing was an act of white supremacist terrorism which occurred on Sunday, September 15, 1963. Here, four members of the Ku Klux Klan planted at least 15 sticks of dynamite attached to a timing device beneath the steps located on the east side of the church. Described by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as "one of the most vicious and tragic crimes ever perpetrated against humanity," the explosion at the church killed four girls and injured 22 others.

10:00 am: BIRMINGHAM CIVIL RIGHTS INSTITUTE (Birmingham, AL)
The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, part of the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument and an affiliate of the Smithsonian, is a cultural and educational research center that promotes a comprehensive understanding of the significance of civil rights developments in Birmingham. 

12:00 pm: LUNCH & GROUP DEBRIEF AT THE BIRMINGHAM CIVIL RIGHTS INSTITUTE (Birmingham, AL)
After 2:30 pm: INDIVIDUAL DEPARTURES VIA BIRMINGHAM-SHUTTLESWORTH INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (BHM) (Birmingham, AL)

Consider joining LGW and WRAG for a journey that will not only educate, but also create a new level of awareness within in our leadership, regarding the roots of racism, the systemic barriers that linger within our society today, and the necessary steps moving forward to cultivate a more inclusive Greater Washington region for residents and businesses. 

Trip details: 
$3,500/per person. Price includes all site fees; ground transportation; single-occupancy hotel room each night; three dinners; four lunches.
Not included: One-way airfare to Memphis & return from Birmingham; transportation to and from airports; breakfast each day; one dinner

Registration Deadline: June 1 |  Questions? Contact Rebekah Seder, seder@washingtongrantmakers.org 

Lodging Details: 
Sunday, September 23: Peabody Memphis Hotel, 149 Union Ave, Memphis TN
Monday, September 24: Hilton Garden Inn, 235 West Capitol St, Jackson MS 
Tuesday, September 25: Embassy Suites, 30 Tallapoosa St, Montgomery, AL
Wednesday, September 26: Embassy Suites 2300 Woodcrest Pl, Birmingham, AL
 
Cancellation Policy
Full payment must be received by June 1, 2018. No refunds will be provided after August 1, 2018.