Summer Journey Blog!

Anniston, Alabama

Honoring sacred ground: #OUDC22 stands in front of our bus at the site where the first Freedom Riders bus was firebombed in Anniston, Alabama. Class 22 spoke with Mr. Emerson, who witnessed the attack from his front porch and is currently working with many of the Freedom Riders to turn the site into a memorial park.

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More highlights from Georgia!

More highlights from our time in Georgia, including Holocaust Survivor Henry Friedman, Freedom Riders Hank Thomas and Charles Person, Activist Ruby Sales, former Black Panther Kathleen Cleaver, and Camp Ramah Darom!

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Henry Friedman survived a harrowing ordeal, including an attempt to kill him by a firing squad. “I tell my story in hopes that I can add something to the world,” he said. “When you see an injustice, you have to speak about it.” He added, “Operation Understanding DC is family to me. What you are doing is so important.”

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Hank Thomas and Charles Person were two of the original members of the 1961 Freedom Rides. Each survived violent Klan attacks, prompting 400 students to continue the rides for months afterwards.

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Ruby Sales, a high school activist during the Civil Rights Movement, challenged Class 22 to connect the changes sought in the 1960s to larger systems of oppression still in operation today. “The movement was about great intimacy, being one with each other,” she said. “Your generation has inherited a world where intimacy is scanty at best.”

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Former Black Panther leader Kathleen Cleaver shares the often-misunderstood legacy of the Panthers with Class 22. “We wanted revolution. We wanted to change the world,” she said. “Perhaps we made a dent.”

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Class 22 participates in facilitation training at Camp Ramah Darom. They led a workshop for 70 of the oldest campers on identity, stereotypes, and bias!

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The Summer Journey staff checks out the waterfall at Camp Ramah Darom.

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We love camp!

The Temple

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Class 22 visits Atlanta’s The Temple, which was bombed in 1958 for its support of the Civil Rights Movement. The congregation, still thriving today, continues to make social justice a key part of their mission.

More Sights From Atlanta

More sights from Day 9: Students tour Atlanta with Tom Houck, Dr. King’s former driver, engage in a robust discussion on politics and movement-building with CNN reporter John Blake, explore the emotional courage of integration activists through a sit-in simulation, and connect the Civil Rights Movement to today at Atlanta’s Center for Civil and Human Rights.

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John Blake

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John Blake, CNN reporter and author of “Children of the Movement” leads Class 22 in a robust discussion on racism, #BlackLivesMatter, and movement-building.