Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Human Rights Field Trip

Some of my students standing over the platform built for today's ceremonies at Central High.

D. and I took my students to Little Rock on Friday for the social justice-themed trip we take every term. Central High was a madhouse, as you might expect the weekend before a big anniversary like this one. We were able to see the Emancipation Proclamation at the Clinton Library and had a really great visit to the Heifer Ranch. I really do feel blessed to take these students to visit these sites, and discuss the ways America protects and supports Human Rights, as well as the ways they're undermined...it's good to experience a culture in all its complexities. At Central, we met a woman who grew up in Little Rock and lived through the "Lost Year," and a man who was sent with the 101st Airborne to protect the Nine and escort them to school every morning. I was pretty much close to tears the entire weekend.

We returned to the Ozarks tired but full of good memories. Sunday we went to a party where people brought instruments and played together. A song could include guitars, mandolin, bongos and opera singers on backup vocals. Imagine those sounds wafting out over this vista:

It was really beautiful. All of it.

4 comments:

Step Right Up said...

What did the man with the 101st think back then about it and has his views changed since that time?

Alannah said...

Interesting you should mention that, SRU, because this was a black man and I heard that the black members of the 101st were asked to hang back and not be the main ones to enter the school with the students, if they were even allowed on the mission at all. Unfortunately this guy was leaving as we were just getting started with the tour so I didn't have time to ask him questions.

smoore said...

"....I really do feel blessed to take these students to visit these sites, and discuss the ways America protects and supports Human Rights, as well as the ways they're undermined...it's good to experience a culture in all its complexities..."

Nice quote, Alannah. Your job sounds very fascinating and really rewarding. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us!

Step Right Up said...

Isn't it funny that I assumed that he would be white? I guess I thought they wouldn't place a black man in a protector role in that type of setting.