Originally published on The Index-Journal on June 6, 2022
Editor’s note — A handful of area students explored race relations as part of a program with the Greenwood County Remembrance Project. Those who participated took an eight-week class and went on a trip to Montgomery, Alabama. Some of the students participated in an essay contest, writing about topics discussed or recounting their experiences in class and on the trip. We are periodically sharing their essays on this page, with minor editing.
I attend Cyber Academy of South Carolina as an eighth grader. And I’d like to take a second to tell you about my involvement with the Greenwood Community Remembrance Project. I had the opportunity to attend a class, go on a field trip and gain long-lasting experiences that will last a life time.
During the fall of 2021, I took eight informational classes where we talked about the real, authentic experiences of African Americans during slavery and after reconstruction. We learned about many well-known events that happened throughout the years such as the Phoenix Riots in Greenwood, Bloody Sunday, Wilmington’s history, prison enslavement and a bus boycott. Also, the life and legacy of the late great Dr. Benjamin E. May and how he helped shape America through is philosophy, teachings, advisement and life morals.
I also had the chance to go on a field trip by bus to Alabama. Some places I visited during this trip were Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge, Troy University Rosa Parks Museum, EJI Memorial for Peace and Justice. While visiting those places I learned a lot.
For example, I learned the EJI Memorial for Peace and Justice is the nation’s first memorial dedicated to the legacy of enslaved Black people, people terrorized by lynching, African Americans humiliated by racial segregation and Jim Crow, and people of color burdened with contemporary presumptions of guilt and police violence. EJI constructed over 800 steel monuments, one for each county in the United States where a racial terror lynching took place. I also learned about the unjust segregation rules forced upon the African American population in 1955, on Mr. Ribbits Time Machine bus inside the Troy University, Rosa Parks Museum.
My overall experience was amazing. I learned so many things I never knew before. The event that stands out in my mind the most is The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration.
Upon entering the museum, I was confronted with replicas of slave pens, holograms and a 360-degree audio, making my experience lifelike. Walking further into the museum I saw how they took codified racial segregation, lynching and the emergence of over-incarceration in the 20th century and brought to life through film, images and first-person narratives. Just magical.
In conclusion, I was granted with a great opportunity to learn more about African history as it relates to the middle passage and the present day African American descendants.
To learn more about Cyber Academy of South Carolina, visit https://casc.k12.com/