Nearly two dozen USC students spent their spring break immersed in culture and history on the alternative spring break civil rights tour sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (OMSA).
The alternative break trip took students to parts of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Louisiana to serve and learn about the Civil Rights movement in the South.
Through memorials, universities, museums and testimonials, students explored new cites and talked with people who were around in the Civil Rights era.
“There was a lot of new people that was brought forth that I hadn’t heard about before, and overall it was amazing,” said Brittany Redmond, a third-year public health student.
One memorable person the group met while on the trip was Martin Luther King Jr.’s barber, students said.
Students found out about this alternative spring break trip through OMSA and from other friends who went on the trip in previous years. For some, it was brand new.
“This is my first time going on this trip and I hope that it won’t be my last,” Redmond said in an email.
Other students, like fourth-year political science and African-American studies student Amanda Hilton, went on this trip before. Hilton went on this trip two years ago and said it changed her outlook on the history she has been taught since childhood.
Before the trip, Redmond was excited about understanding the history she was never taught in her classes, she said. On the trip, she was able to see what she wasn't learning in textbooks. Between meeting people who lived during the Civil Rights movement and hearing their unique stories, Redmond said she believes openness to information and education will help improve society.
“Hopefully, not only for me, but for others who went on the trip, we will be able to go out and share what we learned to others who weren’t on the trip,” Redmond said.
This was also fourth-year mathematics student Chynna Wilson's first time on this trip. Wilson said she hoped she would gain a deeper understanding of the Civil Rights movement and an improved appreciation for the work done during the time.
Several students said they left the trip with awareness and knowledge that needs to be spread regarding Civil Rights. Wilson, for instance, found that South Carolina does not have the same representation of the past that other nearby states have. Wilson said she believes South Carolina can do more through museums and other resources.
This trip took students through some of the rich history of the Civil Rights Movement, encouraging understanding and knowledge. Wilson said she saw her experience on the spring break trip as eye-opening.
"This is definitely a trip that you should take at least once during your undergraduate career,” Wilson said.