Twenty students in the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute’s (BCRI) Legacy Youth Leadership Program left Tuesday, July 16 for a three-day tour of historical sites critical to the African American community between Reconstruction and the Civil Rights era through today.
These sites are part of the Alabama African American Civil Rights Heritage Sites Consortium (AAACRHSC), which is managed by the BCRI. The AAACRHSC is a collaboration among 20 historic places of worship, lodging and civic engagement that played significant roles in the African American struggle for freedom. While recent history focuses on the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, these institutions have been dedicated to improving the quality of black life since Reconstruction.
The sites toured included Brown Chapel AME Church in Selma; Safe House Black History Museum in Greensboro; Dexter Avenue Parsonage in Montgomery; Harris House in Montgomery and Ben Moore Hotel Montgomery. The students also had an opportunity to visit the new Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery.
The AAACRHSC was launched in January 2017 when the BCRI nominated the sites to the World Monuments Fund (WMF) Watch List. That same year the WMF announced the AAACRHSC was included on its global 2018 Watch List among a diverse group of 25 global cultural heritage sites. The sites are sustained through the passion, commitment and herculean efforts of dedicated volunteers who are committed to preserving not only these historic properties but their important stories. Taken together, these sites provide a historical, social and cultural context for the movement that changed our state, nation and world.
The BCRI’s Legacy Youth Leadership Program engages area high school students in a series of training experiences and internship opportunities that will help them develop into lifelong learners, productive citizens, and community leaders.
Upon acceptance into the program, students are expected to attend a series of 12 weekly participatory workshops to study the BCRI’s collections and archives. In the summer, students who successfully complete the program will serve as Docents (tour guides) at BCRI. LYLP alumni are expected to continue to serve as BCRI volunteers throughout their high school years.
About the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI): An affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, and part of the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument, the BCRI is a cultural and educational research center that promotes a comprehensive understanding for the significance of civil rights developments in Birmingham that changed our world. Celebrating its 26th anniversary, BCRI reaches more than 150,000 individuals each year through teacher education (including curriculum development and teacher training), group tours, outreach programs (school and community), award-winning after-school and public programs, exhibitions and extensive archival collections. For more information, visit www.bcri.org.