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travel to the American South

(images above): from an exhibition at the Rosa Parks Museum


Touring Montgomery with "I Am More Than's" Michelle Browder, we visited the former site of Montgomery's Slave Markets at Court Square in the center of the city.


Site of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King's home at the parsonage in Montgomery, the site of a bombing during MLK's tenure in the city.

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(above two images): The "Wall of Tolerance" at the Southern Poverty Law Center's headquarters.


In June 2018, a number of the Topol Fellows in Peace and Nonviolence traveled to Montgomery, Alabama for a three-day immersion in the history of the civil rights movement, issues of racial justice, and advocacy of peaceful solutions in this nation.   This trip was the result of an informal invitation from Equal Justice Initiative founder, Bryan Stevenson, to visit the new National Memorial to Peace and Nonviolence that he had envisioned, found the site, commissioned the design, and fundraised to build that had opened in a few weeks earlier, in April 2018.   

The idea was both to inspire the Topol Fellows in their programming the following year--which the trip unquestionably succeeded in doing--but also to set the stage for a more ambitious trip with all Facing History students, incorporating visits to Atlanta, Georgia, Birmingham and Selma, Alabama, and possibly specific sites in Mississippi and Louisiana.   Ms. Freeman did an exploratory trip to identify the latter sites in February 2020, just prior to the outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States.    

While this is a logistically complex undertaking, the portion of the trip in June 2018 provides a model of what such a trip includes during its time in Montgomery:

  • Extended visit to the National Memorial to Peace and Nonviolence

  • Indepth exploration of the Legacy Museum, also created by Bryan Stevenson and the Equal Justice Initiative

  • Visit to the Rosa Parks Museum

  • Visit to the Civil Rights Memorial (designed by Maya Lin) and the headquarters of Learning for Justice and the Southern Poverty Law Center

  • Visit to the parsonage where Martin Luther King, Jr. and his family lived while he preached at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church

  • Visit to the Dexter Avenue King Baptist Church

  • Visit to the Alabama State Capital

  • Visit to the exhibition on the Freedom Riders

  • Tour of indigenous and Black history sites in Montgomery, led by Michelle Browder of "I am More Than..."

It is anticipated that future Facing History students may embark on an expanded version of this trip in the next several years. 


The travelers on the 2018 trip to Montgomery at the Civil Rights Memorial (designed by Maya Lin) in front of the Southern Poverty Law Center headquarters.  

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View of the National Memorial to Peace and Justice


At the entrance to the Memorial, a sculpture of enslaved, shackled figures by Ghanian artist Kwame Akoto-Bamfo entitled Nkyiokyim ("Tristed"), a referencde to the Ghanian proverb "Life is a twisted journey". 

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(Above three): the heart of the memorial, documenting the thousands of lynching victims in the United States.  

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The headquarters of the Equal Justice Initiative

The Alabama State Capitol.

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