When in high school I attended at 10 day trip to the south to learn about the Civil Rights era. I definitely felt a bit out of place in the area because I learned so much about so many racial prejudices that were committed by people who have the same skin color as me. Although I have never been a person to see other people by the color of their skin, it was strange for me to feel like an enemy for the crimes committed by people who look similar to myself.
The trip was called “Sojourn to the Past” and was an amazingly eye opening and life changing trip. As one student amongst a group of a couple hundred of my peers there was a lot of learning about the prejudices that changed this country forever. We met people like Reverend Frank Shuttlesworth, Senator John Lewis, and Minnie Jean of the Little Rock Nine during our trip. We traveled across the states in the south by bus. Starting in Atlanta and ending in Memphis at the hotel where Dr. Martin Luther King‘s life was taken from him the night before fighting for the rights of sanitation workers.
During the trip there was a lot of eye opening and life changing moments. Seeing and meeting the people that had their lives changed and threatened because of the color of their skin made everyone appreciate the comforts that we have grown up in while living in California.
One moment in particular that made me feel like an outsider was when talking to a person in Atlanta and explaining to him my trip. Many people in the south still carry hatred in their hearts for people that are not light skinned anglos. Going to south to learn about the Civil Rights era was definitely the best place to learn, but being a liberal Californian in a conservative south made all of my peers and myself feel truly like flies on the wall. In retrospect, there is nothing that I would have changed in my trip to the south and the knowledge I gained from the trip will live within me for the rest of my life.