Campbell Law takes Civil Rights tour over Spring Break 2024

Group of Campbell Law students, faculty and staff pose in Birmingham

Campbell Law School students, faculty and staff embarked on a six-day journey across the Southeast to learn more about Civil Rights over Spring Break 2024.

The group of six students (Katie Roseman ’24, Kelly Kramarenko ’24, Sydney Scott ’25, Torie Boyte ’25, Sierra Robertson ’25, Dakhari Davis ’25), three faculty and staff (Professor Suzanna Geiser, Assistant Dean of Student Life, Pro Bono Opportunities and Belonging Regina Chavis ’20 and Wallace Public Service Fellow Brigitte Kelly ’23) and two family members began their trip on March 10 in Greensboro with a visit to the International Civil Rights Center & Museum. The museum is located in the former Woolworths, where the Greensboro sit-ins occurred more than 50 years ago. The original building has been rehabilitated and turned into museum, whose mission is to commemorate the A&T Four and their role in launching the sit-in movement that inspired peaceful direct-action demonstrations across the country, according to the Museum’s website.

Photo of the group of Campbell Law students in front of the Woolworths

The law school organized similar Civil Rights and Racial Justice trips for students in 2018 and 2019 over Winter Break, explained Kelly, who helped revive this year’s Civil Rights trip over Spring Break following a break due to the Pandemic.

The group then traveled to the heart of Atlanta, Georgia, via the Campbell Law School van. During their time in the city, they visited the Civil Rights Walk of Fame as well as the King Center. The tour circled the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. first preached his sermons before moving west to Alabama. The students had the opportunity to pay their respects to Dr. King at his memorial before heading to the APEX Museum, or “African Panoramic Experience.”

Photo of Campbell Law students, faculty and staff in front of the APEX Museum in Atlanta

The museum takes its attendees through the extensive history of African success before the interruption, which is referred to now as the Atlantic Slave Trade. Students were assigned kingdoms to hail from in Africa, then harshly separated from their “families” and assigned a life of hardship. “The APEX Museum did a wonderful job of placing emphasis on the fact that, if not for the interruption of slavery caused by the European countries, Africa would be much more different than it is today,” Kelly said. Pictured below are two slave tags which ensured that the hostages were in good health on the day they were sold, both intended for Charlotte, North Carolina.  

Photo of metal tags given to slaves headed to CharlottePhoto of statues in front of the words slaves

 After a long second day, students piled into the van to head toward Montgomery, Alabama, where they experienced the life-changing Legacy Museum. “The educational and emotional impact of the Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice was profound and memorable,” explained Kramarenko.

Photo of outside the Legacy MuseumPhoto of a student walking through the exhibit representing the lynchings at the Legacy Museum

Following the visit to the Legacy Museum, the group made their way to the Southern Poverty Law Center, where the students were able to ask attorney Keisha Sparks questions about the scale of the help needed and the available resources to current communities in need. After a revisit of the Legacy Museum , the students and staff toured through the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, which focuses on the shear number of lynchings that occurred in the U.S. following the Civil War.  

Throughout the trip, students and staff participated in restorative circles to discuss the themes and lessons of the museums visited along the way. The group circled up to discuss the impacts of the Legacy Museum, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice.

While in Montgomery, the group also visited the Rosa Parks statue at the bus stop where she famously refused to give up her seat.

“This photo (see below) is documentation of just one of the many memorable experiences ​we’ve had,” Geiser said in a thank you note to the Dean J. Rich Leonard. “It’s been an absolute joy to experience history with our students.”

CampbellLaw students pose in front of Rosa Park statue

The next stop was the Queen City of the Blackbelt, Selma, Alabama. In the morning, the group took a tour of the National Voting Rights Museum and learned about the significance of the march across Edmund Pettus Bridge followed by an impactful and theatrical tour of the National Museum on Enslavement and the Civil War. All the participants of the tour, including a Wake Forest University Divinity School group of graduate students, were assigned a master and treated as though they were just brought to the new world by ship from Africa.

Photo of a sign reading welcome to Selma

The group stopped for a photo at the Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church, which played a pivotal role in the Selma, Alabama, marches that helped lead to the 1965 Voting Rights Act. They ended the tour with a memorable walk across the historic Edmund Pettus bridge.  

Photo of Campbell Law group on the Pettis Bridge in Selma 

The trip wrapped up in Birmingham, Alabama, which was once the nation’s most segregated city, home to brutal, racially motivated violence. First the group walked through Kelly Ingram Park, which is home to emotionally powerful sculptures depicting the city’s civil rights struggle. The park served as an assembly spot for activities of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and other groups in the movement. Pictured below is a monument located in Kelly Ingram Park that is dedicated to the four girls and two boys who lost their lives on the day of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in 1963. 

Photo of girls statues in Birmingham park honoring the children killed by the church bomb

Then the group took a self-guided tour of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute’s (BCRI) permanent gallery. Serving more than 140,000 individuals each year, the BCRI opened its doors in 1992 as a hub for children, students, adults and scholars, encouraging new generations of people to examine our country’s civil rights history as well as broader subjects such as equality and race, according to it website. 

Picture of Birmingham Civil Rights Museum sign

Chavis added,  “We would like to thank Dean Leonard for sponsoring this life-changing experience. And a big thanks to Brigitte Kelly for coordinating the itinerary and the trip’s logistics. We are looking forward to continuing the Campbell Law Civil Rights Trip for years to come.”