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'Powerful, Transformative' Journey to Justice Departs in July

Journey to Justice_1.jpg
University of Evansville
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The inaugural Journey to Justice was in 2021. Students not only visit the important churches and museums, but they also hear from experts, some of whom were there during the formative events.

Bus tour takes students through important southern historical locations in the Civil Rights Movement

The Journey to Justice bus tour runs for eight days starting July 16. More than 50 students will visit locations through out the south that were important to the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

Many are in Alabama, like the church in Selma which was pivotal in helping pass the 1965 Civil Rights Act, or the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery where important civil rights actions were planned.

The inaugural tour was in 2021. Rob Shelby with the University of Evansville said students used the word "powerful" to describe the experience.

“Words like ‘it was transformative’ … ‘It was it was heartbreaking.’ And we hear all of that," Shelby said. "And then there was also this optimism that came out like there was this, this great sense that, as tragic as the past was, and in many cases, how tragic things are now, there's this great hope and optimism and they felt like this program helped turn that up in them.”

The first stop is at the Evansville African American Museum. Shelby said students can hear learn about what it was like to grow up here as a black person during the civil rights movement.

“It plays out very differently here than it does in a lot of other cities, because we're not as large and perhaps didn't get any of the real national attention," he said. "And so the Evansville experience is really crucial because this is the place where most of our students are coming from. And this is also where they return, so we want them to understand more about the community that they're a part of.”

Shelby says they’ve added a stop at Lyles Station near Princeton Indiana. This was the location of a once-thriving black community established in the early 1800s.

Students will have a guided experience through the museum tours and speakers. Shelby says students will keep with the change-making paradigm of the University of Evansville, and keep a journal.

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University of Evansville
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A student sits behind a sculpture relief of Rosa Parks seated in a mid-century bus on the 2021 Journey to Justice tour.

This tour is currently for high school juniors and seniors and university students. Shelby said this is because the grants which help fund the tour are earmarked for high schoolers. He said in the future, the tour might be open to non-students.

Scholarships are available for high school students, bringing the price down to $1,575, instead of the usual $3,030.

Registration is open until Friday, June 17. To apply, go to www.evansville.edu/journeytojustice.

The Journey to Justice will include site visits at the following locations:

  • Evansville, Indiana
    • Evansville African-American Museum
  • Montgomery, Alabama
    • Civil Rights Memorial, Legacy Museum, National Memorial for Peace and Justice, Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Rosa Parks Museum, Alabama State Capital, Equal Justice Initiative Judge Frank M. Johnson Institute
  • Birmingham, Alabama
    • 16th Street Baptist Church, Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Ingram Park
  • Selma, Alabama
    • Brown Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Edmund Pettus Bridge and Interpretive Center, National Voting Rights Museum
  • Memphis, Tennessee
    • Mason Temple Church of God in Christ, National Civil Rights Museum, Beale Street
  • Louisville, Kentucky
    • Muhammad Ali Center, Roots 101 African American Museum