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Civil Right Road Trip: Rudy Solis

Rudy Solis ’18 — Today, we visited the Brown Chapel AME Church in Selma, Alabama where we were able to learn about the history of this church, its role during the Civil Rights Movement, and about the experience of a foot soldier that formed part of the Civil Rights Movement (CRM), named Dianne Harris. Harris shared how she became involved in the CRM, about her experience meeting Martin Luther King Jr. and other prominent figures (i.e. John Lewis), and her experience as a foot soldier in the famous Bloody Sunday that took place in Selma. Hearing Harris tell her story brought the Bloody Sunday of 1965 to life, enabling me to see what she saw as she attempted to get herself and her younger sibling away from the police officer that followed them from the Edmund Pettus Bridge to the front steps of the Brown Chapel AME Church. This story was very persuasive as it is about a 14-year-old, 10th grade student and her 12-year-old brother who sacrificed their school time, but, most importantly, their lives because they aspired to one day see their mother successfully vote.

We then walked the Edmund Pettus Bridge, which was disturbing and educating at the same time as I was able to vividly envision hundreds of innocent people running towards safety as tear gas travelled through the air and policemen fiercely rode their horses down the bridge beating anyone and everyone who they were able to get their hands on. Being able to walk down the Edmund Pettus Bridge was special to me as I recognize the sacrifices made by those who were murdered, beat, and humiliated for seeking their right to vote, and for being non-whites.