Schoolchildren learn about their heritage in Selma

Published 8:38 pm Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Students from Sophia P. Kingston Elementary and Meadowview Elementary converged on the National Voting Rights Museum on Tuesday morning.

The museum was one of many stops — including the Old Depot Museum, First Baptist Church and First Presbyterian Church — on a field trip designed shed light on Selma’s history.

“Our students don’t realize how rich our city is until we get them out and they experience it,” said Meadowview teacher Michelle Allday. “They’re getting to see the rich abundance of history that Selma has.”

Email newsletter signup

The tour proved to be an eye-opening experience for both sets of fourth graders.

“The jail was small. I don’t see how all of them fit in there,” said Meadowview student Landon Davis.

Andrew Dunham, also of Meadowview, gained perspective on the civil rights movement.

“My favorite part was when I learned what they marched for,” said Dunham. “They didn’t give up.”

The Kingston students eagerly participated in a trivia session with museum director Sam Walker. He offered a free gift from the gift shop to any child that could tell him the number of bubbles in a bar of soap, or the number of feathers on a chicken.

All eagerly raised their hand to answer the questions, unaware that both questions were commonly used to deny voting rights.

“I would say that the bar of soap has 600 bubbles and the chicken probably had eight,” said Kadeidra Smiley, a Kingston fourth grader.

The Kingston students best remembered the story of Bloody Sunday.

“I learned about Bloody Sunday. White people used to be killing people; they didn’t have the right to vote. They used to be stepping on them with horses,” said Keshaundra Crusoe. “I got that Jimmie Lee Jackson had got killed because he tried to fight for his parents to help them out with voting rights and tried to save everybody from getting killed on Bloody Sunday.”

Tuesday marked the third time James Bandy, a teacher at Kingston, brought a class to the museum.

“It gives them a chance to become familiar with civil rights,” said Bandy. “We want them to understand the Civil Rights Movement is part of their history.”