To this must be added a myriad of personal motivations. Just why do
students choose to go on a school-sponsored trip during one of their
vacations? To be sure, there were students who had developed a strong
academic interest in the Civil Rights Movement. More than half the trip
participants had studied the subject, and the trip may have seemed to them
a natural extension of their course of study. But there were also
girlfriends who wanted to be with boyfriends (and vice versa). There were
restless youth who perhaps wanted a brief vacation from parents. Take me-
anywhere! There were those--perhaps all--who were also hoping for
adventure, for excitement, for a chance at encountering the unexpected.
Beyond the history of the Civil Rights Movement, we found some of all of
these things, but we also found passion and pathos, emotions still warm,
and people so real you could just reach out and touch them. Or be touched
by them. We ended up traveling not only in pursuit of history, but through
the history actually being made as we traveled. As our bus rolled, old
confederate-inspired state flags were being challenged and juries were
being selected in a continuing effort to make just an unresolved past. The
trip was a powerful experience for most of us, adults included. But the
nature of that power, even now, is elusive and hard to articulate. Layers
were laid down. I'm not certain any of us have gotten to the bottom of it
Upon our return, there was no transition period back to regular life as
we had known it. Lincoln-Sudbury demanded our instant attention. We flew
back on a Sunday, and the next day school resumed. For teachers, there
were classes to teach; for students, papers to write and tests to take.
How quickly even powerful experiences can seem to evaporate in the
non-stop flow of our lives. Oh, the South? Hey, that was last week.
The web site, the photographs, the music, the brief comments on each
page, the longer pieces of reflection which some students prepared, and
the documentary film which will soon be created--all these turn out to be
acts of resistance against forgetting, and a grand collective effort at
remembrance. Together, they say, as if in unison, "Once upon a time in
April, 2001, we took a trip together, and during that journey, there were
moments that seemed very important."
Here is some of what we remember.
SEE OTHER HISTORY PROJECTS ON "PROJECT PAGE"
[an error occurred while processing this directive] http://schechsplace.tripod.com/content/projects/projects.ht