Their trip did not have the drama of Saul’s road to Damascus or the rigor of Jesus’ journey through the desert.
But the Civil Rights Pilgrimage, a seven-day, 2,000-mile trek taken by 15 DSHA students and 21 additional students from Messmer High School and Marquette High School, followed the time-honored purpose that has guided faith journeys for thousands of years. By “praying with their feet,” the students hoped to deepen their faith and arrive at new spiritual insights on how to live what they believe.
The Pilgrimage, taken May 30 through June 6, 2018, commemorated the 50th anniversary of America’s civil rights movement. Launched by ministers and pastors and fueled by the principles of social justice, the movement changed the nation.
The students visited historic civil rights sites in Memphis, Birmingham, Montgomery, Selma and St. Louis. There they followed in the footsteps of the religious leaders and thousands of faithful who confronted brutality with prayers, songs, marches and unwavering faith. Led by teachers from all three schools, the students studied, reflected on and prayed about the spiritual values that led the great movement for equal rights and social justice.
In the following essays, three students share their stories of the dramatic, life-changing journey, an opportunity none will ever forget.