See a message from Dean of Students Carolyn Livingston about the Northfield to Selma trip.

Monday, March 20: Day Five

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

by Cynthia Chang

Today was a longer travel day for us as we ventured out from Virginia to Atlanta, Georgia! At this point I think we've all found our prime sleeping positions and we're starting to get used to the lengthy bus rides (hopefully!). This bus time has also given me a chance to reflect on all the information we've grasped on this trip thus far. 

Yesterday was a day that not only made me realize how many details I had forgotten about American History but also how much African American history I had not learned in school. The National Museum of African American History in particular was very memorable to me. When we first boarded the elevator to enter the exhibit, I remember one of the staff members saying that "Black History is American History". After walking through the dense history of the slave trade, segregation, and Civil War, I was most astounded by the sheer documentation and detail that came along with this museum. Centuries of oppression brought a greater push for equality and built solidarity, which I truly felt especially once I reached the top floors of the museum that displayed modern day African American culture. From music to television to food, I felt lucky to see the impact of history on ongoing traditions and culture. 

Later on, we also had the opportunity to tour the National Mall and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial stood out to me the most.The quote engraved on the stone of the memorial wrote:

"After a mountain of despair, a stone of hope". 

This memorial represents only one of many important figures of the Civil Rights Movement, but it stands tall amongst the cherry blossom trees (which sadly have not bloomed yet!) as a representation of the impact of MLK's civil rights activism. 

Even after two historical days in Washington D.C., we did not stop there. Each time we travel across a new state, Dean Livingston tells us fun historical facts about the cities we pass by. As we entered Atlanta, Georgia, I felt conflicted by how beautiful I thought the city was after Dean Livingston told us that much of these spaces were built for the 1996 Olympics and forced many people who lived in affordable housing out of their homes. In reality, tall skyscrapers and beautiful green spaces in large cities may look nice but can create greater inequalities that are often invisible to the community. 

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