William Woods University students this semester will embark on a cultural learning experience that will take them back more than 40 years. They will learn about and relive the Civil Rights Movement.
Students enrolled in Woods Around the World, taught by Travis Tamerius, WWU chaplain, will spend their spring break touring the American South to further understand the Civil Rights Movement. During the weeks leading up to the trip, the class will talk about the movement and read articles to give them an initial understanding of what took place in the 1960s.
According to Tamerius, the trip is designed to tie together everything learned in class. During the trip, students will experience places and events discussed in lectures. To further their education and understanding, they will have the opportunity to interview participants in the Civil Rights Movement to ask questions and get firsthand accounts.
The trip is made possible through a grant from the Oreon E. Scott Foundation. Woods Around the World is a unique approach to education that takes the student beyond the classroom and the textbook and into the real world of another culture, Tamerius explained.
Students spend part of a semester studying a nation or culture and its people, including the history and way of life—then they travel to see that culture firsthand. When they return, students complete a supervised project that reflects on the experience. In past years, students have studied Kenya and Peru.
The trip, lasting five days, will take students to several of the major cities involved, including Atlanta, Ga.; Montgomery, Ala.; Selma, Ala., and Memphis, Tenn. WWU faculty and staff members will accompany the group of students.
During the trip, students will tour some of the nation’s landmarks, including the birthplace of Martin Luther King, the Rosa Parks Library and Museum and the National Civil Rights Museum. Students will also visit an African-American church in Atlanta, Ga., and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.
“We wanted to do something that would engage the campus culturally,” said Tammy Carter, coordinator of multicultural affairs at WWU. “The trip is designed to help students get a better understanding of the fight and energy that spearheaded the Civil Rights Movement, benefitting not just African-Americans, but all minority groups.”
“The trip puts students in a culture or sub-culture different than their own to open their eyes and motivate them to serve,” said Tamerius. “We hope the trip will give them an appreciation for diversity and those who worked for civil rights, allowing them to see the world through someone else’s eyes.”