Sunday, January 19, 2014

Tangipahoa Parish Youth Civil Rights Tours to Memphis, TN and Washington, D.C.

Amite Summer Camper in Mark, Mississippi, The Home of
Wagon Mule Train
Photo Credit: Walter C. Black, Sr.
Amite,LA--This pass summer the Tangipahoa Youth Ambassadors and the Amite Summer Campers had an opportunity to learn more about the civil rights struggles by touring some of the civil rights historical landmarks from Mark, Mississippi the birth place of the Wagon Mule Train to Memphis, Tennessee, were Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated on April 4, 1968. When Dr. King announced the Poor People's Campaign, to address poverty in America. He envisioned caravans of poor people of color from all over the United States gathering on the mall in Washington, D.C., with hopes to eradicate poverty. The wagon Mules Train would be comprised of mule-drawn wagons rather than buses, vans and cars. The Mule Train set off from Marks, Mississippi on May 13, 1968 and headed east across northern Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. On June 13 after several delays and mishaps along the way the Mule Train arrived in Atlanta. From Alexandria VA, crossing the Potomac River and on in to Washington, D.C.

Sponsored by Nurturing Our Roots Fine Arts Gallery and TCOJC Apostolic Ministries with Pastor Junious Buchanan, the youth took to the road to learn about their history. It was the first visit to National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee for some of the campers. They actually stood on the balcony were Dr. King was murdered. Once inside the museum they learned about civil rights activists like Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks and other women pioneers who changed the course of history for African Americans.

Summer Campers on the Civil Rights Tour
Photo Credit: Walter C. Black, Sr.
While riding on the bus to tour the historical places the youth campers and Tangipahoa Youth Ambassadors, listened to Dr. King speeches. They was taught by tour guide Antoinette Harrell the importance of their civil rights. They learned the difference between civil rights and human rights. They also read and discussed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The campers watched the movie "Roots" on the tour. They saw the cotton gins, and shanties in the Mississippi Delta. 

They experience holding up signs to protest for justice. They held up signs seeking justice of Trayvon Martin, the young man who was murdered by George Zimmerman in Florida. On the bus you see their little minds working and thinking about this entire experience. Some of them asked questions.

Several of the Tangipahoa Youth Ambassadors went on to Washington, D.C. to commemorate the 50th Anniversary March on Washington, D.C., While traveling on bus for more than eighteen hours they read books and took notes about the civil rights movement. Discussing what they thought it was like to have too ride on the back of the bus and being discriminated against because of the color of their skin. They learned about peonage and sharecropping and what these two words meant and how it affect the lives of many poor people both black and white throughout the deep south.
Katelyn Jones standing up for her voting rights
Photo Credit: Walter C. Black, Sr.

They had the opportunity to meet civil rights activist Julian Bond. Bond later served as the head of he Southern Poverty Law Center and of the NAACP.  The youth ambassadors also met  Marc Morial, an American political and civic leader and current president of the National Urban League. To their surprise they met Roland Martin an American journalist and syndicated columnist with Creator Syndicate and author. He was the commentator for TV One and the host of News One Now. He was also a CNN contributor and later he joined the Tom Joyner Morning Show as senior analyst.  The ambassadors got an interview with BET News to talk about the project that they are work on in Webb, Mississippi.

A very special thanks to Glyniss Vernon Gordon, Pastor and Mrs. Chante Buchanan, Bobby J. Ginn, Antwan Blossom and all the other volunteers, a very warmhearted thank you House on Rock Church in Amite, La., for donating the bus.

Tangipahoa Youth Ambassador reading the Life
Story of Martin Luther King, Jr. 
The Original Civil Right Bus
in Washington D.C.
Marc Morial, President of the National Urban League
Tangipahoa Youth Ambassadors with Roland Martin
LaDesha Lee being interviewed by Joyce Jones 
BET Correspondent 
Tangipahoa Youth Ambassadors with
Civil Right Activist Julian Bond