“Civil Rights”

Tuesday May 2, 2023
From the messy desk of Amanda Eichstaedt

Southern Discomfort

As some of you know, I am just back from a busy ten day trip. Four of the ten days were spent joining a Civil Rights Trip with Katherine Sanford’s 8th grade class from Lagunitas School. We started in Atlanta, went to Montgomery, then Selma, then back to Montgomery, over to Birmingham, and then back to Atlanta. Yes, you read correctly, we did this in under four days total. 

At The King Center.   photo: A Eichstaedt

I got hooked up with this adventure after having learned about the trip a few years back. Earlier this winter I interviewed Katherine and a few of her students who had gone on the trip previously. There was a two year break, due to COVID, but students went last year. When I got done learning about the trip, I inquired if I could go. Katherine welcomed it, and I began to make plans.

One of the things that I did while on the journey was collect audio. My plan is to do some follow up interviews, more research to be sure I have my facts straight, and then produce an audio piece that will be aired on KWMR. Stay tuned!

The group consisted of 35 bus riders, which was made up of students, a handful of parents, Scott Fried, our tour leader, Tony the awesome bus driver, and me. I had a few other parents that did some audio capturing that I will hopefully be able to utilize in my audio piece. 

We started out touring the King Center,Auburn Street, and the Ebenezer Church. The next day we visited the Rosa Parks Museum, then in Selma we met Joanne Bland, and had a great presentation by her, then we toured Selma, Alabama, and saw some of the tornado damage, and walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. We stayed that night in Montgomery. Wednesday we visited The Equal Justice Initiative’s Legacy Museum, and then the Memorial for Peace and Justice. We drove to Birmingham that night and did a walking tour of Freedom Park and met with Bishop Calvin Woods and then walked to the 16th Street Baptist Church. We then drove back to Atlanta that night. That was a long day. On our final day we visited the National Human and Civil Rights Museum, which tied together all that we had experienced, and put it in the context of global human rights. 

Memorial for Peace and Justice. Each hanging object signifies one or more people who have been lynched.   Photo: A Eichstaedt

It was a lot. When you are learning about the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., segregation, violence at the hands of the KKK and others, as well as the number of lynchings of both black, and white people who were striving, and dreaming of equality and the right to vote, it’s heavy stuff. All the while being reminded of our place in the world as global citizens, and the privilege that many of us take for granted. We talked to and heard from people who experienced these things first hand. The strength of nonviolence, and the hope that persists, even when things seem so bleak, was inspiring.

If you ever find yourself in the South, and in proximity to any of these museums or memorials, I encourage you to build in a visit. Not only are these exhibits and memorials well designed, interactive, and beautiful, but they are also important for all of us to understand the history of our country, so we don’t continue to repeat it. This kind of discomfort informs the future.

I am happy to be home. And today is KWMR’s 24th Birthday. Happy Birthday to KWMR!

Thank you for your reading this, listening to KWMR!

Amanda Eichstaedt 
Station Manager and Executive Director 

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