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Hands-on-History Students Visit Selma

Catawba Valley Community College’s Hands-On-History initiative thru the Office of Multicultural Affairs recently took students to Selma, Ala., to experience the anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery March for voting rights.


Selma 2019

Students from Bladen Community College, Davidson County Community College and Isothermal Community College accompanied them.

In 1965, some 600 civil rights marchers headed east out of Selma on U.S. Route 80. They got only as far as the Edmund Pettus Bridge six blocks away, where state and local lawmen attacked them with billy clubs and tear gas and drove them back into Selma.

To commemorate 400 years since slavery, the students laid on the Edmund Pettus Bridge to observe 40 seconds of silence.

Students attended the Foot Soldiers Breakfast in Selma where individuals who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King in “Bloody Sunday” shared their memories.

The experience included a visit to The National Memorial for Peace and Justice as well as the Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration in Montgomery, Ala., which opened last year. Located on the site of a former warehouse where black people were enslaved, the Legacy Museum displays the history of slavery and racism in America. A life-changing experience for the students, they learned about slavery, racial suppression, and mass incarceration of minorities in the United States.

Student Septima Poinsette Clark had the honor of seeing her great-grandmother’s work recognized at the Legacy Museum. Clark’s great-grandmother was an educator and activist in South Carolina who developed literacy and citizenship workshops during the voting rights and civil rights movement.

Students toured the Tuskegee Airman National History Site, the training site for the first African-American pilots. At the Tuskegee History Center, Fred D. Gray, attorney for Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King, spoke to students and encouraged them to break down laws of segregation. He then autographed books.

Students participated in the Student Leadership Conference at Wallace Community College in Selma and attended a community mass meeting at Tabernacle Baptist Church.

They visited the Southern Poverty Law Center, Rosa Parks Museum at Troy University and the Capital Building in Montgomery, Ala. They visited the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala.

The educational experience was funded by the college and numerous private donations made to the CVCC Foundation, Inc.


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