Beginning in the 2011-12 school year, I helped develop and lead what we then called the “Civil Rights Bus Tour,” a social justice-oriented educational program in collaboration with Dr. Rosangela Boyd, Melissa Gruver, and other staff in the Office of Community Engagement and Inclusiveness and Intercultural Services. For the next five years, the week-long journey annually brought about 20 students to historic sites and museums across the South. Yet the trip has gone far beyond ordinary heritage tourism, featuring panel discussions with grassroots movement activists, critical conversations and reflection sessions on race and racism (and other forms of oppression), introductory lessons on community organizing and the origins of social movements, and–most importantly–training in and examples of group-centered or collective leadership models.
A pilgrimage to hallowed locales in American history and a classroom on wheels, the TCU Justice Journey allows students to learn from the past in order to change the future. Many students describe the trip as “life-changing”–see this testimonial in the student newspaper.
African American Freedom Struggles
Beginning in 2014, students have also been required to enroll in my course, HIST 40873/POSC 31003 – Civil Rights Movement in America, which often co-taught with Dr. Emily Farris of the Political Science department. Past trip highlights have included panel discussions and other partnerships with the COFO Civil Rights Education Center in Jackson, the Mississippi Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement, AFSCME Local 1733 in Memphis, American Baptist College in Nashville, and crossing the bridge with the National Voting Rights Museum in Selma–as well as tours led by veteran SNCC organizers including Mr. Charles McLaurin and the late Ms. Margaret Block. Check out previous years on and “Like” our Facebook page.
Latino/a Civil Rights Struggles
Beginning in 2016-17, my collaborators and I offered a new biennial program on the Latino/a experience. Following a similar model, students enrolled in a new semester-long course cross-listed in History and Political Science and co-taught by Dr. Emily and myself, in partnership with Rosangela Boyd and other staff in Student Affairs. Over spring break, we embark on a six day trip to learn about the history and present of the Chicano/a Movement, Latino/a Politics, and Immigrant Rights in Austin, San Antonio, Crystal City, and the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. Collaborators in the community have included State Rep. Ramon Romero, Manuel Diaz Garza and the Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project, Diana Palacios of Crystal City, La Unión del Pueblo Entero in the Rio Grande Valley, and a wide range of veteran Chicano/a movement activists and present-day political and immigrant rights organizers. Click here for a sample syllabus for the course. In 2019, students also completed part-time internships with Latinx political organizations in Fort Worth, including United Fort Worth.