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The Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham, Alabama

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The Civil Rights Institute left us, parents, speechless while it filled the children with unending questions:

“Why did they have to drink out of separate fountains? “

"Why weren't they served in diners?"

“Why couldn’t they ride in the front of the bus?”

“Why were they hung?”

“Who were the people under the white sheets hiding?”

This was hard history for us to watch our children absorb. We’ve yet to visit a museum quite this one, one with horrible truths about our nation’s treatment towards our own. The truths the institute told about what Black Americans went through to obtain equality was just as hard to read as the stories of slavery.


The institute does a fantastic job of teaching you about each of the movements that took place to secure race equality in this nation. It educates you about the people who were pivotal in the changes made for human rights. Most importantly, the Civil Rights Institute reminds us all to always be vigilant, where Human Rights are concerned.

There were silver linings to this institute and it was where we were able to share the stories of equality success with our children, to name a few:

The Freedom Ride: Legally banned segregation on interstate buses persisted in the South. On May 4, 1961, seven blacks and six whites set out on a “Freedom Ride” from Washington D.C. to New Orleans to confront the system. Despite violent resistance, the Congress of Racial Equality and other groups sponsored riders through-out the summer. By the end, more than 300 rides travelled through the South.

The Walk for Freedom: The 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom fulfilled a lifetime dream of A. Phillip Randolph, founder of a major Black union and respected elder statesman. The SCLC, CORE and SNCC immediately supported the march. For fear of violent confrontation, the NAACP and the National Urban League later joined the effort. Two hundred other White religious and civic groups endorsed the march.

March on Washington: On August 28, 1963, a quarter of a million people gathered in Washington D.C. to march for freedom and jobs. The marchers were form across the U.S. and represented all races, ages, religions and faiths. Their diversity symbolized hope as well as unity.

Selma, Alabama: In 1965, the fight for voting rights moved to Selma. The murder of Jimmy Lee Jackson, a young Black activist prompted a 50-mile protest march to Montgomery. But policemen brutally assaulted the marchers, preventing their passage. Media attention brought national support and the marchers eventually reached the capital. Five months later the Voting Rights Act was signed.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: www.bcri.org The 30 articles in this document outline the basic rights to which all people are entitled. It affirms the dignity and worth of every person in the world. The declaration was created in the aftermath of World War II by a special United Nations commission on Human rights. The commission’s most influential member was Eleanor Roosevelt, the former fist lady of the US. Since it’s approval in 1948, the declaration has been translated into 360 languages.

Teachable moments are in our AWESOME! category. We know our children are going to be the change makers one day in this country and so we are empowering our them not only with knowledge, but with love and tolerance.