Civil Rights Travel Course

A Rosa Parks collageSpring 2024

March 9-16, 2024

DR. Ely Janis

Cost: Through the generosity of donors to MCLA, this trip will be free for students


This Spring, we will be taking MCLA students from March 9-16 on a bus tour to the American South to celebrate and commemorate some of the major milestones and events of the Civil Rights Era. In the weeks leading up to the trip, we will research and learn more about the origins of the Civil Rights Movement and its legacy in American society. During Spring Break will fly down South, where we will get on a charter bus to visit Atlanta and Albany, Georgia; Montgomery, Selma, and Birmingham, Alabama; Jackson, Mississippi, and Memphis, Tennessee.  At these sites, students will also have the opportunity to meet with and talk with veterans of the Civil Rights movement and hear their first-hand experiences of this momentous time in American history. 

Students crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, AlabamaCourse Outcomes

By the end of the course, students will be able to: 

  1. Identify connections between the Civil Rights movement and contemporary American society.
  2. Compare and contrast interpretations of the Civil Rights movement’s history from a range of primary and secondary sources.
  3. Situate the value of their travel within their larger college experience.

Daily Itinerary

Protest signs from the March on WashingtonMarch 9: Depart MCLA and fly to Atlanta

March 10: Visit the Martin Luther King Jr. Center in Atlanta, Georgia

March 11: Visit the Albany, Georgia Civil Rights Institute and meet Ms. Rutha Harris, member of the Civil Rights singing group The Freedom Singers. Then travel to Montgomery, Alabama, and visit the Freedom Riders Museum.

March 12: In Montgomery, Alabama, visit the National Memorial for Peace & Justice, the Rosa Parks Museum, the Lowndes County Interpretive Center, and take a walking tour of Selma, Alabama and the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

March 13: In Montgomery, visit the National Memorial for Peace & Justice and the Legacy Museum. Depart for Birmingham, Alabama and visit Kelly Ingram Park and the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. In the evening meet with Civil Rights activists and Birmingham residents Mrs. Carolyn McKinstry and Ms. Lisa McNair

March 14: Depart for Jackson, Mississippi, and visit the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. 

March 15: Travel on to Memphis, Tennessee, and visit the National Civil Rights Museum and Stax Records Museum of American Soul Music. Dinner that night on Beale Street.

March 16: Fly back to MCLA.


The following trip components have been paid for by the generosity of donors:

  • Flights to and from Georgia and Tennessee
  • Bus travel to visit these different museums and historical locations
  • Accommodations (shared double occupancy in hotels)
  • Group meals and food money
  • Admissions to all museums and historical sites 
  • Travel insurance

Students are responsible for any incidentals (souvenirs, etc.).

MCLA students will receive three upper-level credits.

Contact Information

Dr. Ely Janis
History and Political Science Department 
413 (662)-5342

Professor Janis’ teaching and research interests are in American immigration and ethnicity, the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, transatlantic history, and American social reform.

Students gathered around the reflecting pool at the Southern Poverty Law Center