Final Reflections

June 23rd, 2021

We’ve been home for a few days, and I continue to think about the trip. What will I take with me?

First, it’s time I really learn this history. During the last couple days on the bus, I started my own civil rights timeline, highlighting especially the places we visited and the people we met. I’m just as capable of learning this as organic chemistry! I just have never prioritized it.

Second, over and over I saw behaviors, actions, beliefs and words from this era that I have personally witnessed again in the last year. It happened again in the last couple days with the stymied voting rights act in the senate and some of the arguments against it. I need to be a constant voice for justice during these times.

Third, I was impressed with the organization and discipline of the movement. I lament that the protests in the past year were not as focused, and I’m afraid they will not accomplish as much as we would hope.

I’m thinking that I might attend the online church services of each of the churches we visited throughout the rest of the summer. Because of COVID, we were unable to go into most of them. I know I would be blessed by worshipping with the contemporary congregations of these historic peace and justice churches.

Our last speaker was asked what his most memorable, meaningful experience was with music, and the movement. He had a fabulous bass voice, by the way! He recalled a very recent time when in a Freedom Riders Museum, with a group, they had gotten in a circle to sing “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around.” Instead of the word “nobody,” everyone had to say out loud an issue that they weren’t gonna let turn them around. Dr. Patton was particularly moved when others in the museum, not even in their tour, joined in with this very personal singing of the freedom song. This was so good. I need to remember to sing this song whenever it seems appropriate in my life. My students might even think that “organic chemistry” belongs in such a song!

Roseann Sachs

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