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This morning (Jan 15th), we said bye to our host families in Selma and headed to Montgomery. The two days we spent in Selma, with the Freedom Foundation and the “RAT Co” kids particularly, have been amazing. Every one of us was impressed and inspired by their talent, energy and positive outlook towards life despite the adversities they face. Eager to share their inspiring stories with our fellow Gettysburgians, the plan is to bring them to Gettysburg next semester. We are so excited that we have already had the first meeting with the CPS staff scheduled on the first Monday after we go back. I have to say that the best thing could ever happen to an immersion trip is what we are trying to do—bringing the energy and inspiration the experience instilled in us back to our own community by continuously being involved in various ways. I unfortunately will miss the “RAT Co to Gettysburg” fiesta, because I’m leaving for abroad in a week. I can, however, envision how great it would be when our group managed to bring the kids to the Gettysburg community.
One more thought on “RAT Co:” when Malika, one of the current day activists in Selma, met with us; in explaining the essence of nonviolence, she said: “love is important; but living it out is difficult.” I think everyone who has ever met with “RAT Co” kids would agree that all they have done is living out that love.
Leaving Selma, we headed to Montgomery and toured around the city. Montgomery is the capital of Alabama. It is also one of the signature cities of the Civil Rights Movement—the headquarter of the 1955 bus boycott and the end point of the Selma-Montgomery March of 1965. In accordance with the two major events happened in the city during the era, we visited the Rosa Parks Museum and the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church.
Located at the southwestern corner of the intersection of Dexter Avenue and Decatur Street, the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church was only one block away from the Alabama state capitol building. The front stairs of the capitol have witnessed the end of Selma-Montgomery March, where the marchers were confronted by the state troopers and were not allowed to step onto the stairs. Going down the Decatur Street, we stepped on the footprints of the freedom fighters and walked the last one block of the Selma-Montgomery March. When we sat at the stairs of the capitol building, light began to fade out as the sun set. A thick layer of mist set a perfect scene for a documentary. Standing in front of the capitol building, I could see Dr. King with thousands of freedom fighters walk out of the mist and approach at one of ending points of the struggle for freedom and justice. As we have learned and witnessed throughout the trip, the struggle, however, never ended. It is our responsibility to continue the fight against injustice and prejudice.
Late afternoon, we turned our back to Montgomery and headed to Lowndes County. We had dinner with our host families, including the Mantz’s, who have been long-time friends of CPS and have hosted many Gettysburg College students in the past years. During our stay at Lowndes County, we had been fully exposed to the southern hospitality and enjoyed every meal we had unsurprisingly.