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Black and White Teens From DC Take Bus Tour to Explore Race Relations in Mississippi

By Lawayne Childrey | Published 20 Jul 2012 04:39pm | comments
Members of Operation Understanding DC Tour Medgar Evers Home/Museum

A bus load of Black and Jewish Teens from Washington DC are traveling through Mississippi exploring the states rich civil rights history. Their goal is to learn from the past how  to create a more inclusive vision for the future. MPB's Lawayne Childrey met up with Operation Understanding DC at the Jackson  home of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers.  

This past weekend, 24 Black and Jewish teens had the rare opportunity to stand in the well preserved home of Slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers. They appeared to be mesmerized as they listen to  Minnie White Robinson, curator of the Medgar Evers Museum recounts the night Evers was assassinated at his home in the summer of 1963.

"So he had a good shot. Medgar was in his trunk, the moon was bright, streetlights on and the bullet got him in the back under the right should going through him, through the last pain of the window over here onto the refrigerator, ricocheting from it onto the counter top. That;s where the bullet landed in the sink."

The visit to Ever's home is part of a 6 day pilgrimage through Mississippi. Along the way students engage in conversations with  noted civil rights pioneers about key events that took place from Meridian to Jackson to the Mississippi Delta. For 17 year old David Harrison it offered insight into the legacy of the civil rights movement.  

"We're all members of the human race so Black, White, any other race religion sex, we're all human beings at the end of the day. And I think once we can all gain that mutual respect and acceptance of each other I think we're going to make huge leaps in accepting each other in the United States and the world today."

Eliyas Aregahengae, a junior at Booker T Washington Public Charter School in DC says the tour has strengthened his resolve to pursue what he calls justice for all.

"Like immigration policies we have today, some of the voting practices with the card, the lil voter ID thing.  I mean that's just old stuff that's gone on in the past that people are trying to repeat. You know you have the gay marriage issue, you have woman's rights and people think oh no it's over, we won yes lets celebrate but no it's not over there is always going to be something to fight for."

The group will end their journey through Mississippi today after a visit with longtime State Senator David Jordan in Greenwood. Lawayne Childrey MPB News.


More Information about Operation Understanding DC:

During their visit through Mississippi The students – all from the Washington, DC metropolitan area  learned about former Governor William Winter’s efforts on racial reconciliation and education reform;

Explored journalism and activism with Jerry Mitchell at The Clarion-Ledger;

Gain firsthand perspectives of the Civil Rights Movement from Roscoe Jones, Sr.; Hollis Watkins and the home of Medgar Evers;

Spoke with Dr. Daphne Chamberlain about the work of the newly-opened COFO Civil Rights Education Center at Jackson State University;

Discussed the past and future of Southern Jewish communities with Dr. Stuart Rockoff at the Institute for Southern Jewish Life and Joe Erber at Ahavath Rayim Synagogue;

Heard from Indianola Mayor Steven Rosenthal and State Senator David Jordan about the importance of public service, and from Bill Ready, Sr. about Meridian’s history of race relations;

Worshiped with Temple Beth Israel and Mount Beulah Missionary Baptist Church congregations; and

Toured the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center.






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