Day #1

June 8th, 2014

We got a chance to visit this site of the first lunch counter sit in.  I was surprised to learn that the building was nearly torn down to construct a parking lot.  Thanks to the efforts of many, this building was saved along with the original lunch counter in its original place.  What a treasure to see and truly imagine what this must have been line on Feb. 1st, 1960

June 8th, 2014
I’m Sheryl Ezbiansky, admin assnt at Messiah College, a member of the college’s MLK planning committee and I work daily with students at the college who lead clubs & organizations, including several clubs that represent the diversity of ethnicity and race at Messiah.
I have been asked by the college to write a blog. I am going to be writing this in pieces throughout my days and putting my thoughts together, cutting and pasting them so they make sense.  I’ve never blogged before, or journaled, for that matter… So bear with me.
It’s 12noon and as I type this I’m fidgeting because I’m trying to get comfortable in my seat on a chartered bus that I’ve been riding on for the past 5 hours. I even get 2 seats to spread out on and I can’t get comfy.  I’m not a very good passenger and I can never get comfortable as a passenger so this may be a very longggggg 8 days.  Yep… 8 days. On a bus. Not a car. A bus. Chartered bus, with a bathroom (that I’m 3 rows away from :-(
(I hope everyone uses the rest-stops!)
Comfort. I just want to be comfortable. And I want coffee. And chocolate. If I have those 3 things I think I’ll be in good shape this week.
So, as I said, I’m on a bus, obviously going somewhere. And if you are reading this blog then you see that it’s a blog about the Civil Rights Movement.  I was invited to take this trip into the ‘deep South’ to learn about the Civil Rights Movement.
And I’m more than a bit challenged because I’m not a history buff and I don’t know anything about this stuff. I wasn’t alive when MLK was alive. I have so much I’m going to learn that my head is going to explode – that might happen just after day 1.
I am sharing this trip and time with 25 other travelers I don’t know, including 4 coworkers from Messiah.  Last night I shared with the 4 from Messiah that I expect to be emotional on this trip. Like-cry, emotional. I’m not sure why and I don’t know when. I just don’t think I can visit the sites, museums, meet the historians I will meet from MLK’s time and learn about their struggles and hear their stories and NOT get emotional. I live a life with civil rights. I always have. I never had to think twice about them. I am also white. I have privileges I also have NEVER had to worry or think about. But I am going to learn about … And maybe for a moment… Live like those who didn’t have those rights and privileges.
This trip will be an experience of a lifetime.
Not a thrill of a lifetime. Not a joy of a lifetime. And not so much the trip of a lifetime. But it will definitely be an experience of a lifetime.
Thank you Messiah College for this opportunity. I may be cursing you later in the week as my butt hurts on this bus (haha). As I said, I’d like comfort, coffee and chocolate. But as I travel I will learn that those before me didn’t live in comfort.  Those before me didn’t get what they wanted. If I have to suffer and sacrifice a bit then…well…I guess…
I look forward to sharing my thoughts and experiences on my journey from Pittsburgh-SC-Atlanta-Montgomery, AL-Birmingham, AL-Memphis-Mississippi-Little Rock-Canton, OH.
It’s 10pm. I’m finally off the bus. It’s day 1.  I’m in a hotel. I’m in SC. Blog 1 finished. Good night!f

Getting Ready

June 5th, 2014

Tomorrow I will be starting out on the 2014 Civil Rights Tour.  In preparation this past week, I have watched several documentaries as well as read some basic on line research.  I grew up in the 1970’s in the farm lands of Illinois, and to be honest,  I don’t remember learning much about this part of our country’s history.  What has struck me most is the bravery of those who stood up to take a stand.  I am looking forward to seeing many of these sites in person and learning more of the details of these individuals.