Two Humanities organizations, teachers tour Selma

Published 7:16 am Thursday, July 21, 2022

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The Alabama Humanities Alliance and the National Endowment for the Humanities brought educators to Selma on Monday.

The NEH and AHA toured Selma with nationwide educators for its series, “Stony the Road We Trod . . .”  a summer institute for nationwide teachers to learn the Civil Rights Era.

The group of teachers toured the Historic Brown Chapel AME Church, Tabernacle Baptist Church and crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge.  Civil Rights historian JoAnn Bland led the group on a tour.

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Laura Anderson, director of partnerships and outcomes at the Alabama Humanities Alliance, said it is important for teachers to educate their students about the Civil Rights movement.

“The ultimate goal of Stony the Road is to equip educators with first-hand experiences and primary resources that they can use to bring the civil rights era to life in their classrooms across the country,” Anderson said. “Teachers in this program are learning to develop new curriculum based on Alabama’s civil rights history. And they’ll return home prepared to share what they’ve learned with their colleagues and schools.”

Anderson said that Selma is a big piece of the Civil Rights movement.

“Selma is a critical part of our Stony the Road program because this city is a sacred, living site of memory,” Anderson said. “We couldn’t offer this program and not bring teachers to walk this ground. What happened in Selma and across Alabama during the civil rights movement forced an entire nation to re-examine how it dealt with issues of race, justice, and citizenship. Those are lessons we need to remember and reaffirm today.”

Anita Collins, one of the teachers in the group, said she enjoyed the experience.

“My dream came true today as my teacher cohort and I walked the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma and heard from foot soldier JoAnn Bland and her experience being beaten at by State Troopers,” Collins said.