An Educational Pilgrimage

from an essay I’ve been writing on “Owning up to Ownership”:

As I try to make an effort to learn and understand [the history of enslavement], I look for opportunities to step outside my privileged comfort zone and Go Listen-Go Learn, from people, places, books, films.  Though I often feel overwhelmed, and there is no way I can recall all the information from these sources, I sense it is personally essential, and critically needed, especially in our time. 

Toward this educational and humanistic pilgrimage, my wife Carol and I have travelled to these educational sites:

—James Madison’s “Montpelier” home, walking to the gravesite of slaves who worked that land

—James Monroe’s “Highlands” home, walking through slave cabins

—Thomas Jefferson’s “Monticello” home, walking where enslaved people worked the land

—George Washington’s “Mount Vernon” home, standing in the slave cemetery

—Richmond, VA: toured the “White House of the Confederacy” where Jefferson Davis and family lived; toured the capital and saw worn stone staircase where enslaved people rolled wheelbarrows up during construction; walked through cemetery to Davis grave and the graves of many soldiers Blue and Gray

—St. Helena Island, SC: Penn School (first school for formerly enslaved persons)

—Anacostia, D.C.:  tour of Frederick Douglass’ home, “Cedar Hill”

–Various Civil War hospital sites in D.C.

—Charleston, SC: Slave Mart, Port Royal (where first Black troops were stationed)

—Auburn, NY: Harriet Tubman’s grave

–Cambridge, MD: where Harriet Tubman was enslaved and escaped

–Easton, MD: where Frederick Douglass was enslaved and escaped

To step deeper into the history of the Civil War we visited:

—Ossawatomie, KS:  home where John Brown lived for a time

—Harper’s Ferry, VA:  where John Brown’s raid on the armory happened

—Charlestown, VA:  the courtroom where John Brown was tried and the site where he was hanged

—Sharpsburg, MD:  Antietam battlefield and visitors center

—Gettysburg, PA:  Gettysburg battlefield (visited twice) and visitors center

—Bull Run, VA: battlefield and visitors center

—Fredericksburg, VA: battlefield and visitors center

—New Market, VA: battlefield and visitors center

—Chickamauga, GA: battlefield

—Chattanooga, TN: Lookout Mountain battlefield

—Richmond, VA: cemetery for both Union and Confederate soldiers 

—Charleston, SC:  Fort Sumter

And, to be presented with more current history, we have gone to:

—Stone Mountain, GA: where the KKK was re-formed

—Little Rock, AR:  Central High School–resistance to integration

—Greensboro, NC:  Woolworth’s lunch counter sit-ins

—Memphis, TN:  National Civil Rights Museum, at the Lorraine Motel where Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed

—Montgomery, AL:  MLK home that was bombed, Dexter Ave. Baptist Church, Equal Justice Initiative (“Lynching Memorial”), Slave market, the bus stop where Rosa Parks stood; drove part of the route of Selma march

—Birmingham, AL: 16th Street Baptist Church, Civil Rights Museum, stood on the site of the Birmingham Jail where King wrote his famous letter

—Atlanta, GA: MLK birthhome, Ebenezer Baptist Church

—Topeka, KS: school site and center where Brown v Board of Education case arose

And so much more to see, explore and learn!

Categories: American History, UncategorizedTags: , , , ,

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