EUE grant allows students to visit the heart of civil rights movement

History professors Rowena McClinton, Jessica Harris and Brian Jack received an Excellence in Undergraduate Education (EUE) grant to take 10 history major students on a trip to Mississippi – the heart of the civil rights movement – in May 2015.

Historical Studies professor Bryan Jack. Photo courtesy of Bryan Jack

“We hope to give students a living history of Mississippi during the Civil Rights Movement and lasting impressions of people who made a great difference in our history,” McClinton said.

According to McClinton, students will meet participants of the Civil Rights Movement, such as James Meredith and the Rev. Edwin Kings. Students will also tour the Vicksburg Civil War Park, the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, the Masonic Temple in Memphis where Dr. Martin Luther King made his last speech, Jackson State University that houses the papers of Margaret Walker Alexander, and a former slave auction market, among other historical sites.

“We’ll take students out of the book,” Jack said. “They’ll see the places they’ve been reading and studying about.”

The students will be selected through an application process requiring an essay and, depending on how many apply, the process may require an interview.

Jack said one of the requirements of the EUE grant is that students take what they learn on the trip and use it to improve their community. Students will keep a journal during the trip of their impressions and insights.

“From journaling, we can pull together the entire experience and share those experiences with classes and classmates,” McClinton said.

According to Jack, the EUE grant encourages faculty to come with innovative ideas to enhance the learning experience of undergraduates. The grant, according to McClinton, “gives opportunities to students to open windows to a bygone era and how African Americans’ struggles for freedom brought a wider freedom to all Americans.”

“This grant makes the realization of Dr. King’s Dream Speech come true for all,” McClinton said.



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