Historic field trip

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 8, 2008

The Selma Times-Journal

Curious, wide-eyed, and playful, several hundred children from the Black Belt came to soak in black history Wednesday on a walking tour that spanned much of the downtown area.

Passersby watched security as cones were set, blocking off traffic so the fourth-grade students could walk the streets.

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The intersection of Broad Street and Water Avenue was blocked off as buses came in with students, who talked excitedly as they waited.

Joann Bland, who led the march across the bridge, read a brief history and instructed the students to walk with their heads and chests high.

Coordinators of the expedition stood watching as traffic was blocked across all four lanes on the bridge so the children could walk across. &8220;You never know,&8221; Bland said. &8220;You can never be too careful with the children.&8221;

The children lined up two-by-two, linked arms, and began their march, singing &8220;Freedom.&8221;

Fourth grade teacher Erica Woods said this was the first time her school, Albert Turner Elementary in Marion, had taken the trip. From that school, 88 students came. &8220;There&8217;s a whole heap of us,&8221; she said.

The total number of students was reported to be more than 800. The students came from Wilcox, Perry, and Lowndes counties.

The tour included visits to the Brown Chapel AME Church, the Old Depot Museum, the National Voting Rights Museum, and a walk across the bridge.

Another group of students, this time from Selma City Schools, will have the tour today.