Second Civil Rights Pilgrimage concludes, impact sings on
The second Civil Rights Pilgrimage concluded two weeks ago but remains to leave a strong resonance of a beloved community here in Seattle. Through the words and photographs among the pilgrims of this journey, viewers can experience a glimpse of the profound moments that were shared along this path of historical testaments. Although these moments are difficult to truly grasp without physically being there, the stories and images brought to us by the pilgrims can help narrate the story.
Beginning in Montgomery, Alabama, the trip kicked off at the Hamptons hotel with world-renowned Civil Rights Leader Reverend Dr. Bernard Lafayette Jr. joined by his equally influential wife, Ms. Kate Lafayette. The evening was filled with descriptive stories of Lafayette’s incredibly violent encounters with KKK members as well as inspirational insight as he illustrated the importance of nonviolence and the use of this skill throughout the Civil Rights Movement. As pictured through the UW COMM’s Instagram, Pilgrimage singers, Mark Pearson, Arianna Aldebot and Aida Solomon, music illustrated a significant component to the trip as it reflected the rhythm that supported the movement.
Throughout the pilgrimage, music was an essential theme that almost all keynote speakers, along the way, shared with the group. The pilgrimage singers, led by Brothers Four member and folk singer/songwriter Mark Pearson, started and ended each day with a song that required the voice of each pilgrim. Singing folk, gospel, spiritual, and marching songs, led to a recreation of the spirit exemplified throughout the people they encountered at each locale. As photographed, Mark led a special performance singing songs he wrote during the difficult times of these events throughout the movement.
In addition to singing with the group, Civil Rights activist Bob Zellner, photographed speaking on the bus, joined the group on their third day to contribute his incredibly powerful journey of the constant beatings and ridicule he received as being the son and grandson of Klansmen fighting for social equality in the south. Spending two days with the group as they drove into the depths of Mississippi, Zellner recalled many terrifying moments him and other SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) members faced at that time but how he continued to remain nonviolent.
Understanding the role that Mississippi played, considered the most violent state prior and during the Civil Rights Movement, into the overall discussion of social equality in America was significant for this pilgrimage. Getting the opportunity to visit Fannie Lou Hamer’s memorial served the group a unique perspective into the works of a strong African-American female who advocated for voting rights and equality in one of the most dangerous states at the time.
Ending the vivacious journey on a walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, bonded the group to an enriched community experience unlike any other. Reflecting on the second Civil Rights Pilgrimage truly reiterated to the power of community. What a group can accomplish together is far more powerful than the work of one alone. And that was what this group experienced. Through the difficult and uplifting times on this pilgrimage, they went through it together and made it the powerful experience that it was and will continue to be.
Click here to view a Tagboard of all the Instagrams and Tweets from the trip.
Click here to view a Flickr album of photos taken by Troy Bonnes.
Written by student Aida Solomon.