African American Freedom Struggles
The TCU Justice Journey: African American Freedom Struggles returns in Spring 2018! In partnership with Inclusiveness and Intercultural Services (IIS), students in the course HIST 40873/POSC 31003 – Civil Rights Movement in America will participate in a five-night immersion experience on March 11-16, 2018. The trip includes not only visits to historic sites and museums but also the opportunity to interact with and learn from the movement’s leading local organizers, past and present. Stops will include Jackson, Mississippi; the rural Mississippi Delta; Memphis; and Little Rock. The Justice Journey will occur just before the 50th anniversary commemoration of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King in Memphis. Students will also have opportunities to interact with and learn from the local organizers who built the civil rights movement on the ground as well as activists in present-day campaigns for justice. Students will return to campus to and translate what they learned into future social justice activism and community-engaged research. Check out previous years on and “Like” our Facebook page.
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. 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. Many students describe the trip as “life-changing”–see this testimonial in the student newspaper.
Beginning in 2014, students who participate in the program have also been required to enroll in my course, HIST 40873/POSC 31003 – Civil Rights Movement in America, which I now typically co-teach with Dr. Emily Farris of the Political Science department. The course and trip’s success would not be possible without the hard work and support of our many partners in Student Affairs over the years, including Rosangela, Mel, Natasha Chapman, Timeka Gordon, April Brown, Dr. Darron Turner, and all of the staff in Inclusiveness and Intercultural Services.
Latino/a Civil Rights Struggles
Beginning in 2016-17, my collaborators and I offered a new program on the Latino/a experience that will, in the future, alternate annually with the TCU Justice Journey: African American Freedom Struggles. Following the same 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, Laura Vasquez, and Roxana Aguirre in Student Affairs. Over spring break, we embarked 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. Thanks to an Instructional Development Grant written by Emily, a few of us are now conducting background research to identify partners and speakers in each of the field sites. Collaborators in the community 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, and a wide range of veteran Chicano/a movement activists and present-day organizers. Click here for the syllabus for the new course (soon to be renumbered HIST 30823).
Emily and I and our partners plan to offer the TCU Justice Journey: Latino/a Civil Rights Struggles in odd-numbered years, alternating with the TCU Justice Journey: African American Freedom Struggle offered in even-numbered years.