Civil Rights Research Experience: Another Great Year


The Civil Rights Research Experience group. Photo courtesy of Joyce Hayden.

Sam Sklar, Sports Editor

  Three staff members and eleven students went on the Civil Rights Research Experience over spring break.
  According to Achievement Specialist Joyce Hayden, the experience began with a flight from Minneapolis to Memphis, Tennessee. From there, they bused to different historically significant cities including Selma, Montgomery, Tuskegee, and Jackson.
  According to Hayden, Wayzata was joined by three other school districts on the research experience: St. Anthony, St. Louis Park, and St. Paul. Hayden was one of the staff members that went on the trip along with Achievement Specialists Jamal Adam and Lambert Brown. The experience was sponsored by an organization called Arts-Us.
  Some of the highlights of the trip included the National Civil Rights Museum, the George Washington Carver Museum, Edmund Pettus Bridge, and the Church of God in Christ Mason Temple.
Hayden said this was her fourth time going on the Civil Rights Research Experience but this year being slightly different than ones in the past. “We change it up and try and incorporate any sort of milestones because we are that far away from the Civil Rights Movement,” said Hayden “This year we were able to visit the Lynching Museum which opened after our trip last year.”
  Constance Duopu said one of her favorite moments was the slave simulation. “It was really impactful,” said Duopu.
Duopu also said she enjoyed getting to know other people and building relationships.
  The preparation for the experience came well before spring break with what were called “Saturday sessions.”
“Every Saturday for five Saturdays we would go down to the University of Minnesota for four hours. They had different teachers and speakers who taught us different theories and concepts about African American culture,” said Duopu.
  Hayden said one of her favorite moments was at the Church of God in Christ Mason Temple, where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous I’ve Been To The Mountaintop speech the day before he was assassinated. “When we got to the church I was like ‘wait, where am I?’ At that point everything just started to melt together,” said Hayden.
After the Civil Rights Research Experience, the students presented to Wayzata faculty in late April to share their experiences. As part of the presentation, the students discussed with teachers on ways to better teach about the Civil Rights Movement and African American history.
  Duopu said that she would recommend this experience for everyone. “The more students can learn about American history, the more tolerant and the better the Wayzata community will be,” said Duopu.