UTSA students learn about civil rights movement during The Progression

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UTSA students on The Progression bus tour

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(Feb. 4, 2013) -- The UTSA Student Leadership Center and the Inclusion and Community Engagement Center took 39 students across four states to participate in The Progression: An Exploration of Civil Rights. The bus tour allowed UTSA students to become immersed in the history of the civil rights movement.

The Progression tour was Jan. 8-12 with the Martin Luther King March on Jan. 21. The trip took students from San Antonio to New Orleans to Birmingham and on to Memphis. The students visited historical markers such as the 9th Ward, the Civil Rights Institute, 16th Street Baptist Church, Kelly Ingram Park and the National Civil Rights Museum.

This year, they also toured the downtown area of Memphis, Tenn., where they visited the Slave Haven Underground Railroad, the Mason Temple Church of God in Christ headquarters where Rev. Martin Luther King gave his last speech ("I've Been to the Mountaintop"), the Stax Museum of American Soul Music and the W.C. Handy Museum. The experience ended with students participating in the Martin Luther King March in San Antonio.

Accompanying the visits to the historically recognized sites and nationally known museums was a curriculum created to promote awareness of social justice issues. Students learned through documentaries, reflection papers, group discussions, and presentations from guest speakers and activists.

"There have been ups and downs throughout my college career and this last semester I have been trying to figure out what to do post-graduation. During this trip, I found a moment where I had clarity and direction for my destiny that words cannot describe," said student Rita Adeyinka.

Student Jantel Fontenot said, "I learned to value every opportunity and to try and learn as much as I possibly can wherever I go. I will try to apply the knowledge I gained to influence people to visit these places in order for them to receive true understanding."

"I would recommend this trip to other students because it opens your mind, educates you, and gives you an experience and the real truth," said Nico Cousby. "It allows students the opportunity to reflect on their life and make changes for the better."

For information about The Progression and leadership development opportunities, contact the UTSA Student Leadership Center at 210-458-7967, leadership@utsa.edu or in University Center Room 1.002.