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

Friday, March 24: Day Nine

Saturday, March 25, 2017

by TJ King

Today, we woke up on the right side of the bed in Birmingham, AL. This was the first and only night we got to stay in the same hotel for a second time so the day was off to a leisurely start. We made our way to Memphis, Tennessee to visit the Lorraine Motel, the place where Martin Luther King was shot. When we arrived, I think it was, for all of us, a site with a significantly important aura. Connected to and intertwined with the Lorraine Motel, was the National Civil Rights Museum. Here we saw MLK's hotel room-preserved for the public, various facets of both the Slavery and Jim Crow era and the spot where the shooter was located when he shot MLK. We stayed for about 2 hours then headed to the Four Way restaurant. Here we had some delicious and unsurprisingly famous Soul Food. We were joined by Isabel Rodriguez '12 and she told us about her work at facinghistory.org.  Following lunch, we went to the Stax Museum, a museum dedicated to the music and artists made under Stax Records in the 70s. We finished our day in St. Louis where we stayed for the rest of the night. 

When going through museums, I love to listen to music to amplify the intensity of the experience. During this particular section in the NCRM, I was listening to "Deliver Us," the opening song of the popular Dreamworks film, Prince of Egypt. This song represents the pain and sorrow slaves(God's Children) in Egypt felt during their time of bondage. As I was listening to the lyrics: 

Deliver Us
Hear our prayer
deliver Us
From this slavery
Years of slavery
Grow too cruel to stand 

I felt the parallelisms of the song and my peoples' history. Christianity was introduced to slaves as a form of fear-inducing manipulation to keep uprisings at bay and to keep the population docile. Although, as we can infer from gospel spirituals and slave songs, Christianity was also used as means of coping with their circumstances and helped them keep a little hope of freedom within their hearts. This song was inspired by a people who lived in bondage hundreds of years ago during biblical times, yet the sentiments in it have applied to the enslaved people of the Americas as well as people still in some form of slavery today. 

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