The Institute will start on July 8 and end on July 28, 2018. A cohort of thirty summer scholars will be invited to Alabama to literally walk in the footsteps of unsung foot soldiers and heralded generals of the Movement. Meeting and interacting with history makers will allow summer scholars to bring authenticity to their classroom presentations. Being able to say, “I was there, and I talked with…” will make history come alive for students and teachers alike. This Institute builds knowledge while providing pedagogical training preparing teachers for lessons of justice and citizenship.
“Stony…”, will connect the Modern Civil Rights Movement to other key events in U.S. history and examines how these events forced the nation to wrestle with issues of race and citizenship. Summer scholars will examine how the strategies to address segregation and discrimination in Birmingham differed from strategies in other cities. Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth, mastermind of the Birmingham campaign, attacked segregation on all fronts: from the back of the bus to the front of the voting booth. From Birmingham, teachers will take their own journey to reconcile knowledge of this era with facts, memory, history, and myths. In addition to the provided books, participants will have access to a shared drive of related documents, bibliographies, songs, poetry, curricular products developed by previous participants, and other instructional tools.
Teachers are required to attend and participate in the activities for each day. While in Birmingham, we will depart the hotel at 8:30 a.m. and depending on the activities for the day, return by 4:00 p.m. The University of Alabama at Birmingham will serve as our hub and the city of Birmingham as our classroom. Following the lecture, presentations, and/or site visit for the day, participants will have an opportunity to engage one another on the day’s readings, discussions, lectures, and experiences.
During week one of the Institute, Project Director Martha Bouyer and Master Teacher Dionne Clark will use a modified version of World Café model of discussion to jump-start small peer group and large group discussions focused on the Institutes’ Central Questions for that day. The World Café model is designed to engender trust and collegiality in the exchange of ideas around questions based on the day’s readings and lectures. Through small groups, summer scholars will develop a sense of openness with their cohort. Through memorializing the day’s discussion and ideas, summer scholars will have an opportunity to return to prior days to examine how the group’s experiences, readings, and lectures have shaped the broader discussion and their individual understanding. Discussion questions may be generated by staff, the presenter(s) and from the group. Additionally, teachers will meet in grade level groups to discuss and explores ideas for curricular products. As participants travel, the motor-coach will serve as a classroom on wheels. Teachers will journal their thoughts and experiences for personal use and group discussions. Dr. Bouyer, Dr. Loder-Jackson, and Ms. Clark will use time on the motor-coach to prepare teachers for site visits.
After the first week exploring non-violent direct action in Birmingham, teachers will follow the path of the Selma to Montgomery March as they discuss the strategies used in rural Alabama in pursuit of the franchise. The gravity of being in historical spaces with historical actors often overwhelms teachers as they stand in front of the George Washington Carver Housing Project on the steps of Brown Chapel AME Church and walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where Alabama State Police violently turned back the marchers.
En route from Selma to Montgomery is the Lowndes County Interpretative Center in Whitehall. This exhibit documents the accomplishments and struggles of the Selma-based movement that led to passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Once in Montgomery—the state capital and former capital of the Confederacy—Summer scholars will use interactive technology at the Rosa Parks Museum—on the site of Mrs. Parks’ arrest—to take part in the events surrounding boycott. The field study to Montgomery also includes structured research opportunities at the Alabama Department of Archives and History and the Alabama State University Archives.
The second week culminates with summer scholars visiting Tuskegee. Home of the Tuskegee Normal School for Colored Teachers established on July 4, 1881, this farming community produced leaders like Booker T. Washington, Dr. George Washington Carver, Dr. Charles Gomillion, Mrs. Rosa Parks, Attorney Fred Gray, and the famed “Red Tailed” Tuskegee Airmen of World War II. A visit to Tuskegee will offers an examination of rural African American life and culture by introducing participants to the world of the affluent, educated class juxtaposed with stark poverty and blight synonymous with much of Alabama’s Black Belt. Summer scholars will specifically focus on the 1960 Supreme Court case Gomillion v. Lightfoot which challenged gerrymandering. In this landmark case, the courts overturned the Alabama legislature’s redistricting of Tuskegee in an effort to dilute the voting strength of blacks.
Participants will have an opportunity to explore the Tuskegee University campus along with their National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care and interpretive center dedicated to the work of George Washington Carver.