Opera aficionado, Sarah Caldwell, once said, “Learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can-there will always come a time when you will be grateful you did”. That is what this trip is for me.
Any journalism student yesterday would have LOVED to have been in our shoes. I mean, we went to CNN! Everyone has been doing an awesome job representing our team. I am so excited about everything and everyone we have been so blessed to have come across. From meeting the honorable Reverend Samuel “Billy” Kyles on the first day, to visiting the Emmett Till sites, to speaking with Jerry Mitchell, to visiting the 16th Street Baptist Church, every single moment is one that I will never forget.
World's best driver, Anthony Orosco. Photo credit Derek Sijder.
Shout out to Anthony Orosco, our WONDERFUL and dedicated driver, and San Jose Fireman, for all his wisdom, laughter and for blessing us with his impeccable driving skills.
Stay tuned. More to come.
Peace and Blessings,
Angela A. Hughes
One of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s speeches. Photo Credit: Nick Dovedot
The amazing Anthony and Jade Atkins expressing emotion being embraced by Anthony and near the graves of Dr. and Mrs. King.
Justin Allegri and the amazing and wise Anthony (our driver and friend). Photo Credit: Nick Dovedot
Bianca de Castro connecting with the spirits of Dr. King and Correta Scott King. Photo Credit: Nick Dovedot
The graves of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King.
Atlanta, Georgia at the King Center. Water turned into ice. Photo Credit: Nick Dovedot
Night and morning.
Today in an interview with SJSU students, Hank Klibanoff, author of “The Race Beat,” described the various aspects of media during the civil rights movements and the similarities and differences of media coverage today.
Klibanoff told students the stories of reporters during the civil rights moments. One story in particular, was of a reporter at a civil rights peaceful demonstration which turned violent. Klibanoff said the reporter was witnessing police beat and brutalize a young man. The reporter intervened and was immediately after approached by Dr. Martin Luther King, who told him never to do such a thing again.
What you did, did not help because you did that no one will ever know, because you put down your camera, no one will know the injustices of that incident, he said. Klibanoff continued to say that Dr. King told the reporter, “My people are trained to resist violence, let them be they know what they are doing.”
Klibanoff said the rule of journalism still remains that we never get involved, we are story tellers. We do not get involved in the news. However, he did say that there are extreme circumstances that may occur when you need to make your own decisions, but those times will be very very rare.
Klibanoff ended the meeting by signing the students’ copies of the “Race Beat.”
– Bianca deCastro in Atlanta, Georgia
Kelly Ingram Park is located across the street from the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church.
In 1963 four little girls were killed in a church bombing, the responsible party was the Ku Klux Klan. The church and the area in immediate vicinity served as a workplace for civil rights movements. Kelly Ingram Park was the site where inhumane violence took place, as Eugene “Bull” Connor unleashed attack dogs on activists and used powerful water cannons to terrorize peaceful demonstrators.
Knowledge can be obtained through various mediums, visiting museums and historical sites are wonderful resources for education. However, my preference is learning through people and the stories they tell.
On this Sunny day in January, I visited the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and walked to Kelly Ingram Park, where by chance, I met Dr. Horace Huntley who is the director of the Oral History Project at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.
Dr. Huntley shared with me his views on the election of the first African American President.
Huntley said if it wasn’t for the children and students during the Civil Rights Movement progress wouldn’t have been successful.
“Obama has riled up the youth,” said Huntley. “And I think that is similar to what happened then and it is happening now. And that is a good thing.”
I thanked Dr. Huntley for his time as he wished the group well and thanked us for our journalistic duties. Alone, I then walked to a corner of the park and admired four memorial markers, and as I began taking photos of the park artwork a smiling man riding a bicycle greeted me and we began to engage in friendly conversation.
A seemingly forgotten soul or a possible product of difficult times, the man wished only to be identified as “Dread”.
Dread claims to have no special title or educational background, in our conversation he only briefly refers to graduating high school. But it is the school of hard knocks that has taught Dread every detail that Kelly Ingram Park is built on.
He speaks of unknown significances and less than obvious meanings behind each sacred site. He points out to me the significance of the number four in relation to the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. There are four water sculptures, four posts that run along the edges of the park and four broken pillars incorporated into another piece of artwork called “The Three Ministers.”
According to Dread the number four is in memory of the four little girls killed during the bombing.
As the journey through the south continues and I converse with people from town and city to city, I find a unique commonality among many of the elderly Americans that have lived through or were a part of the Civil Rights Movements.
What many have said is that the Civil Rights Movement was not about race…It was about equality… My new friend Dread is another who agrees. From Birmingham, Alabama this is Bianca deCastro
San Jose State University students interview Kathleen Bunton inside the 16th Street Baptist church in Birmingham, Alabama on Jan. 14. Bunton lived in Birmingham at the time of the 1963 church bombing that killed four little girls. (Derek Sijder)
Justin Allegri edits video in the Clarion-Ledger newsroom in Jackson, Mississippi. (Derek Sijder)
Nick Dovedot snaps a photograph at the Edmund Pettus Bridge. (Derek Sijder)
Jenice Erwin retraces the steps of the march from Selma at the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Jan. 13. (Derek Sijder)
Can you believe it? We were interviwed on live television by Keira Phillips from CNN.
The airing went pretty smooth and what ‘s even more impressive is that all of us were running on just two hours of sleep, one hour less of sleep than the night before. We were up until the wee hours of the night editing video, audio and photographs.
And then at the strike of 3 a.m. we loaded up our van and made our way to Atlanta, Georgia; the birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the site of CNN Atlanta.
What I’m really tring to say is that we are all working very hard and I am proud and honored to have this experience with some of the finest students at San Jose State. Here are some photographs of them.
Feature Story #3: Emmett Till
By: Jade Ashlee Atkins
You would never know of the horrors that happened the morning of August 28th, 1955 if it wasn’t for the seemingly out of place bright purple land marker by the side of the Tallahatchie River.
The sign said that the actual site of the extraction of Emmett Till’s lifeless, mutilated body was about 2.6 miles down the way.
The tour guide Jerome G. Little, said that the sign had recently been removed by someone about two weeks ago and had not yet been replaced.
One can only imagine the shock that came from the discovery of a 14-year-old boys body weighed down by a 75 lbs, cotton gin, decomposed by the elements.
The murder, which is noted for being the launch of the Civil Rights Movement, was one of the most horrendous hate crimes to have ever struck the United States.
Till, or “Bo” as many called him, was known for being a prankster, always laughing and cracking a joke.
The true story of what actually happened that August 24th afternoon at the grocery store, is one that sadly the world will never know.
Some say, Till simply whistled to the woman, Carolyn Bryant whose husband Roy Bryant owned the store. Others say, Emmett said “Hey, baby” and touched her hand as he was handing her his money. Mrs. Bryant said the boy grabber her around the waist and was making sexual gestures towards her. Although, how a child of fourteen could reach clear across a counter to grab a woman’s waist then have enough time to make a gesture, I do not know.
Nonetheless, Emmett Till was the suspect at large who later, as the killers Roy Bryant and his brother-in-law J.W. Milam, said in an interview with Look! magazine “would pay for what he had done.”
Upon viewing the body of her slain son, Mamie Till, asked a question that is still unanswered “Why did they have to shoot him?
Why did they have to shoot him? All but two of the teeth his mother loved so dearly had been knocked out. His head deformed, with a nose that had been smashed in and an eye that was “half way to his chest.”
Little took great pride in showing each and every land marker as well as giving insight into the past.
At the grocery store, or what was left of it, Little told us that Till and his cousin, agreed that they wouldn’t tell Till’s uncle for fear that if they did Till would be sent back to Chicago.
Their withheld information played a volatile role in the murder.
The tour had started at the boarded and worn down funeral home, which like the river and courthouse had the oddly placed purple land marker.
Without a tour guide, we quickly realized that none of these markers could be found by travelers just passing by.
It angered most of us that these historic buildings looked so run down and had had no maintenance over the years.
The buildings where a 14-year-old boy from Chicago was murdered, shown and the murderers tried.
One of the students later said that they had been to Pearl Harbor, and the same eerie sense that something terrible had happened there was what they had feel.
He was right.
Even if one had never heard of Emmett Till, and if the markers which told a brief history of what happened weren’t there, and if the men who were alive when it happened had all died, there is no doubt that you could feel the presence of the terrible tragedy that happened August 28th, 1955.
A interview of a Bay Area man who went to fight for civil rights in Alabama in 1965.