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The Dart: Texas church tours Selma’s Civil Rights landmarks

Alexia English, right, looks at an exhibit with children from her church Wednesday at the Selma Interpretive Center. (Jay Sowers | Times-Journal)

Alexia English, right, looks at an exhibit with children from her church Wednesday at the Selma Interpretive Center. (Jay Sowers | Times-Journal)

Editor’s note: The Dart is a weekly feature, where reporters throw a dart at a map of Selma to find a random location for a story.

Alexia English wants the children of her church to have a better understanding of this country’s Civil Rights history.

That desire brought English and 38 others from Waco, Texas to Selma Wednesday.

English, whose husband is the pastor at Greater Bosqueville Baptist Church, was one of the first off the tour bus Wednesday after a 12-hour drive from Waco.

“In honor of the 50th anniversary of so many of the events that defined the Civil Rights movement, we thought it was important to get the children from our church over here to see these places,” English said. “I’ve been planning this trip for about six months, so it is just wonderful to see it all coming together.”

English said the group would stay in Selma Wednesday night before traveling to Montgomery, Memphis, Tenn., and Little Rock, Ark., before heading back to Texas in a few days.

English said she wanted to give the children of her church the chance to see places of historical importance with their own eyes.

“Waco is really small, and there are several kids on this trip who had never left Texas,” English said. “I’m doing this to expose them to the world around them and make history come to life for them. I think that’s very important.”

English said she hopes seeing places like the Edmund Pettus Bridge would provide the children memories to last a lifetime.

“I wanted them to know what these places look like, and I wanted to give them a chance to try and imagine what it was like to live here in the 1960s,” English said. “That’s hard to do, but we encourage them to do a journal so they can put these events in their own words. I want them to have something to look back on.”

Shortly before noon Wednesday, the church’s charter bus parked on Water Avenue in the shadow of the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

Even before the group toured the Selma Interpretive Center and the National Voting Rights Museum Wednesday, it was clear to English the trip could already be deemed a success.

“It’s indescribable,” she said. “I have been to Selma before, and I’ve crossed the bridge, but this trip is all about giving them that experience.”