Day 1 - Civil Rights Tour 2020
March 1, 2020
Twenty-two Clearwater High School students, known as Freedom Ambassadors, begin to see and listen first-hand to the experiences of the Civil Rights Movement in America as they embarked Sunday on their annual civil rights tour. From Feb. 29-March 4, the ambassadors will visit Atlanta, Ga., Birmingham and Selma, Ala., Memphis, Tenn. and Washington, D.C. The trip is the culmination of a project-based, personalized learning opportunity that includes an in-depth tour of sites with historical significance for the Civil Rights Movement.
In Selma, the students will participate in the commemoration of the 55th anniversary of "Bloody Sunday" and the Selma to Montgomery March over the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
The five-day experience started yesterday in Atlanta and Birmingham. In Atlanta, the ambassadors toured the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park and Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Dr. King attended as a child and co-pastored with his father. They visited the Reflecting Pool that surrounds the tombs of Dr. King and his wife, Coretta Scott King. They had a conversation with Ernie Suggs, a civil rights and politics reporter and Stephanie Toone, a reporter and content producer, with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
At Atlanta’s Center for Civil and Human Rights Museum, the ambassadors viewed videos and artifacts from the era. They also had the opportunity to sit at a lunch counter and through headphones, hear the racist taunts and aggressive language that protestors had to enduring sit-ins and protest.
After a short bus ride to Birmingham, Ala., the ambassadors visited Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, the site where four girls were killed as a result of a bomb during the Civil Rights Movement. There, the ambassadors discussed the bombing and held a moment of silence in the exact location where the bomb detonated.
The first day ended at Bethel Baptist Church in Birmingham where the church’s current Pastor Thomas L. Wilder Jr. detailed the role that the church and former pastor, Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth, played during the Civil Rights Movement. Bethel Baptist Church complex is on the National Register of Historic Places and was declared a National Historic Landmark on April 5, 2005.
Watch videos of the student's Day 1 experience.