Gophers Travel to Selma for B1G Life Experience

Athletics | 7/20/2022 11:48:00 AM

The University of Minnesota had six individuals travel to Selma, Alabama to participate in the Big Life Series: Selma to Montgomery, July 15-17, 2022. The trip is a journey to Selma and Montgomery, Alabama, for an immersive and educational experience at a key center of the civil rights movement. Attending the event from Minnesota was Senior Associate Athletics Director Peyton Owens III, track’s Julia Hayes, football’s Mohamed Ibrahim, volleyball’s Taylor Landfair, women’s basketball’s Rose Micheaux and rowing’s Natalie Doebler. 

All 14 Big Ten institutions gathered on July 15 in Montgomery. After check in, attendees listened to keynote speaker Sheyann Webb-Christburg. Known as Martin Luther King Jr.’s youngest freedom fighter, she spoke to the group: “Athletes, the struggle is not over. Racism still rears its ugly head & attempts to rid people of respect they deserve as human beings. Each of us bring to this world special talents and abilities. There’s someone somewhere that benefits from your contribution to this world.” The attendees also viewed of an episode of the documentary series “Eyes on the Prize.”

The trip continues Saturday in Selma at the First Baptist Church, where hundreds of students coordinated by the Dallas County Voters League began their days’ long journey from Selma to Montgomery in 1965. First Baptist was a focal point of the meeting and non-violent teaching sessions sponsored by the Student Nonviolent Coordinatin the church to plan rallies and demonstrations of early 1965 which culminated in the Selma-to-Montgomery march. Lynda Blackmon Lowry, author and civil rights activist spoke to the group. She was the youngest person at the march at 15 years old in 1965. 

All attendees then walked from First Baptist Church in Selma across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the site of Bloody Sunday and Turnaround Tuesday. 

In Montgomery, the group visited the Interpretive Center at Alabama State University, a historically black university (HBCU), and learned more about the profound impact that students had on the civil rights movement. The group also visited the Civil Rights Memorial Center, the Alabama Department of Archives and History, and the award-winning Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) Legacy Museum, which provides a comprehensive overview of America’s history of racial injustice – from enslavement to mass incarceration.

 

On Saturday evening, trip attendees heard from EJI Legacy Museum founder and social justice lawyer Bryan Stevenson before forming small groups to discuss their experiences. The small group debrief sessions will be led by campus Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion directors. 


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