By Caitlin Lassiter
The annual Southern Culture, Music and Civil Rights trip is returning during spring break, March 6-14.
The trip will give students the opportunity to experience history by visiting key places where ordinary people participated in extraordinary events that shaped and challenged the southern way of life.
“We felt that it was important of Trevecca students to learn about the pain and promise of the Civil Rights Movement, which took place in Nashville and neighboring cities of Montgomery and Birmingham,” said James Casler, director of the Center for Social Justice.
The experience of the trip was expanded in 2015 when Matthew Spraker, associate dean of students for community life, partnered with social justice faculty to include southern culture and music experiences.
The first part of the trip will explore the rich history of music, sites and food such as Memphis BBQ or New Orleans gumbo, jambalaya and beignets.
Students will also learn about various forms of music that tell the story of the pain and promise of the South, including artists like BB King, Hank Williams and Elvis Presley.
On the second part of the trip, students have the opportunity to learn about the pain of the Civil Rights Movement as they cross the Edmond Pettus bridge at Selma and walk the streets of Montgomery and Birmingham, retracing the steps of heroes of the movement such as Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, Fred Grey and Dr. Charles Johnson.
For Gabriela Jasso, social justice and history major, it’s important for students to learn about the civil rights movement to understand the struggles of African Americans.
“It is such a grand historical movement, but it has a lot to do with systemic issues and the way our neighbors are affected,” she said. “Honestly, the fight for justice is still very prevalent today and so it’s really exciting to go and see and be in the spaces that other people have been in that have made a lot of change for African Americans and overall for people of color.”
Alyssa Gardner, social justice and worship arts major, echoed Jasso.
“I think the thing about the trip I’m most excited about is just how many different places we’re going to get to stop and see in person, and how many key Civil Rights spots we’re going to get to walk around at and actually see where these different riots and freedom marches happened,” she said. “The same with the music side of the trip. Getting to go see these core music sites is just going to be a really awesome experience. It’s an amazing opportunity.”
According to Casler, educational learning trips have shaped him spiritually and professional, both as a student and a professor.
“This is why I am passionate about providing experiential learning opportunities for Trevecca students,” he said. “This trip provides the space for students from diverse backgrounds to journey together through history to see how ordinary people engaged in extraordinary acts of servant leadership to foster an inclusive community, one that reflects the Kingdom of God.”
This year’s trip is full, but students are encouraged to be on the lookout for the next Southern Culture, Music and Civil Rights trip, happening during Spring Break 2022.