PLSC Civil Rights Pilgrimage Day 4

Joanne Bland said to us “they don’t love you like I love you,” and Beyoncé aside, I think
she made a great point about the Civil Rights Movement today. Too many people from all walks
of society think the movement began and ended with Dr. Martin Luther King. But the movement
is not over, and the only people left to tell people that are the ones who went through the
Movement in the first place. Too many times, have I met people who think that racism and
sexism have been left in the past, and people get offended when you draw attend to the faults in
modern society. The world doesn’t love us like the pioneers of the Civil Rights Movements love
us. The Americans of today do not want to acknowledge that the struggle is not over, but it
continues.
The movement is not over because we have forgotten where we have come from, and we
refuse to acknowledge that we are purposefully leaving out parts of our history. Joanne Bland
toured us around the town of Selma, but I found the most powerful part of her tour to be they
way she spoke about the movement. When we name people, when we put people on monuments,
we also forget people. How many more people died fighting for their rights than we have
monuments and plaques for? And how many generations until we do not have anybody left to
name them? It also made me think of how the Movement is called nonviolent, but the people and
police opposing voting rights, integration, etc were violent. I feel like that is erasing part of our
history by deemphasizing the opposition’s violence. 
Listening to and meeting Fred Gray was the first time during the that I felt the
interconnectedness of the Movement. Fred Gray was so prolific in his mission to destroy every
bit of segregation in the state of Alabama that it felt like he was everywhere. It was the first time
the Movement felt real to me; he made it real for me. The biggest thing I took away from our
time with him was that one man or one woman can make a big difference. Fred Gray did not try
to change the world when he became a lawyer; he wanted to change Alabama, but he did, in fact, change the world.

Song: Hold Up — Beyoncé