Each spring, SMU students, faculty, staff, and community members journey through the Deep South to learn about the historical legacy and ongoing struggles of the Civil Rights Movement. This trip exposes participants to critical issues, people, and places related to the fight for racial justice in the United States.
As the trip description states:
"SMU Civil Rights Pilgrims will journey to Little Rock, Arkansas where nine courageous black students dared to challenge racial segregation in public schools. Pilgrims will visit the Jackson, Mississippi home of Medgar Evers, whose bloodstains can still be seen on the driveway where he was murdered. We will walk across Selma's Edmund Pettus Bridge toward Montgomery and participate in the reenactment of Bloody Sunday. We will visit monuments and museums that celebrate the hard won political changes in a nation's social and moral structure. In Montgomery, we will visit Dexter Ave. Baptist Church and have dinner with heroes of the movement, those who knew Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The 16th Street Baptist Church will be the focus of our tour in Birmingham, Alabama where four young girls were killed in a bombing. Turning toward Oxford, Mississippi, pilgrims will engage the memory of Goodwin, Cheney and Schwerner and the experiences of James Meredith at the University of Mississippi. Finally, in Memphis, we will visit the Lorraine Motel where Dr. King was assassinated."
The Civil Rights Pilgrimage is a joint effort of the SMU Human Rights Program and the Office of the Chaplain and Religious Life. It occurs in conjunction with the course PLSC 4334 - The Politics and Legacies of the Civil Rights Movement. This course is part of the core human rights curriculum and is required of all human rights majors.