Travel 300: Bus Tour of Civil Rights Sites in The American South
Spring Break 2014
March 7-16, 2014   

Travel course - Civil Rights Bus Tour

Travel course - Civil Rights Bus Tour 

Travel course - Civil Rights Bus Tour 

Travel course - Civil Rights Bus Tour 

Re-live history...Stand and walk where it all happened.As part of the year-long celebration and commemoration of 50 years of the Civil Rights Movement join us as we embark on the "Returning to the Roots Civil Rights Bus Tour," a fun-filled educational tour traveling south to explore the birth place of the Civil Rights Movement. We will leave by bus from North Adams to visit twelve southern cities to retrace some of the most important places in the 1960s Freedom Movement and learn about Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Greensboro sit-ins, Voters Rights and other significant events of the American Civil Rights Movement.
Experience the passion. Hear the real stories, first-hand.
Highlights include:

  • Martin Luther King Center
  • Tuskegee Air Field and National Museum
  • Freedom Rides Museum
  • The Renowned National Voting Rights Museum
  • Historic Edmund Pettus Bridge
  • The Rosa Parks Museum
  • Lorraine Hotel National Civil Rights Museum (where Dr. King was assassinated)
  • The Famed Sixteenth Street Baptist Church
  • National Underground Railroad Freedom Center


Click here for the complete bus itinerary


Trip Particulars

Approximate cost: $1,700 per person
*Participants will be responsible for non-group meals and personal expenses. A payment of $500 must be made by October 15, 2013 to reserve your spot. Subsequent payments are: $600 by December 15th and $600 by January 15th.
All inclusive features include:

  • Round trip bus fare from North Adams
  • Books and Supplies
  • Overnight stays in hotels (double or triple occupancy with private bathroom) Group Meals*
  • Talks by Civil Rights Activists
  • Guided sightseeing tours at all sites, as well as admission to a number of museums.
  • Three upper-level credits possible for students enrolled at MCLA

Funding & Scholarship Note: MCLA has a limited number of small scholarships for student travel. More information to follow soon! See Financial Aid Office for information on student loans.

For more information, contact:   
Professor Frances Jones-Sneed, 413.662.5541 or;
Professor Ely Janis, 413.662.5342 or 


America's Civil Rights Movement

Enduring Understanding
The Civil Rights Movement transformed the African American political, social, and economic relationship in the United States.

Essential Questions
1. What were the origins, actions, and implications of the Civil Rights Movement?
2. How did the Civil Rights Movement transform our society both during this era
and today?

Imagine being unable to eat or sleep in most restaurants or hotels; being unable to sit where you wanted in a movie theater; having to sit in the back when you boarded a bus, even an empty one; being forced to attend an inferior school; and even being forbidden to drink from certain water fountains.

These were the facts of everyday life for all black Americans living in the southern part of the United States as recently as 1960. They were citizens of a country founded on the principal that all men were created equal. Yet, they were treated unequally and declared unequal by law.

In the middle 1950s, a movement of ordinary women and men arose to challenge this way of life. Using boycotts, marches, and other forms of protest, they ultimately forced the South to end its peculiar system of legalized segregation. They succeeded because in a democracy, when the people speak, the government must listen.

Course Description
Students will describe the ultimate aim of the movement: to fulfill the democratic principal of equal rights for all people and explain why individuals are responsible for continuing to defend equal rights.

Course Objectives
To deepen the understanding of the diverse cultural traditions learned in Tier II Human Heritage courses; to examine the historical, social, economic, and political issues of the Modern Civil Rights Movement critically and comparatively; to illustrate the interplay between tradition and history in the context of 21st century society; and to produce a reflective project using both course material and first-hand observations.

Course Requirements
Prior to and after the trip, students will have weekly meetings with Professor Jones-Sneed, the faculty leader of the trip, to discuss issues relating to the Civil Rights Movement. Students will be required to finish assigned readings and submit assignments. During the trip, Professors Jones-Sneed and Janis and other guides will give on-site talks and tours, and students will be required to keep a journal. After the trip, students will present a project based on their knowledge of and experience.  


Grading and Evaluation

Students will be evaluated in the following areas: attendance at class meetings, participation in discussions, in-class presentations, written assignments based on the course readings, a final reflective project on the knowledge and experience gained in the course, and behavior on the travel portion of the course.


Students will describe the ultimate aim of the movement: to fulfill the democratic principal of equal rights for all people and explain why individuals are responsible for continuing to defend equal rights. Evidence of this standard will reflect in the student's ability to:

1. Read and analyze a Civil Rights Timeline;
2. Understand, compare, contrast, and evaluate the impact of the Supreme Court's decision in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) to the impact of the Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka (1954);
3. Examine the "Early Struggles" of African Americans in the United States;
4. Observe and document the challenges and outcomes in the film, "Rosa Parks.";
5. Examine "A Movement of the People" concerning African Americans in the United States;
6. Examine the "Confrontations" African Americans faced in the United States.
7. Observe and document the film, "Mississippi Burning";
8. Examine the African-American's desire to vote in "Fighting for the Ballot";
9. Examine the "Days of Rage" African-Americans faced in the United States;
10.Assess the chances for achieving equality for African-Americans by comparing, contrasting, and evaluating the philosophies of Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. DuBois, Martin Luther King Jr, and Malcolm X towards attaining civil rights in the United States. To what extent would they agree or disagree?


"Eyes on the Prize." (no rating) the six episodes of this documentary series chronicle the important events of the civil rights movement. Primary source footage, interviews, and first-person accounts bring these events to life.

Consider using clips when students reexamine the images or as support for students during the act-it-outs. These are the episodes with correlating topics from this chapter:

Awakenings (1954-1956): Montgomery Bus Boycott
Fighting Back (1957-1962): Integration of Central High School, James Meredith
Ain't Scared of Your Jails (1960-1961): Lunch counter sit-ins, Freedom Rides
No Easy Walk (1961-1963): Birmingham campaign, March on Washington
Mississippi: Is This America? (1962-1964): Voting Rights Act of 1965
Bridge to Freedom (1965): Selma march

"Four Little Girls" (no rating). This documentary examines the 1963 church
bombing that killed four girls in Birmingham, Alabama. Director Spike Lee
uses inter views, photographs, and primary source accounts to give the viewer a picture of what life was like in this highly segregated city.

"Freedom Song" (no rating) Based on eyewitness accounts of civil rights activists, this film is set in a fictional town in Mississippi. It tells the story of African- American teenagers who work with civil rights activists to change segregation laws in their town. Several scenes show the power of music during the civil rights movement.

"The Long Walk Home" (PG) This 1990 film dramatizes the events of the
Montgomery Bus Boycott through the eyes of fictional characters: a maid and
her employer. Whoopi Goldberg plays the maid, who participates in the boycott even though she faces incredible challenges to get to work. Sissy Spacek plays the white employer, who risks the wrath of her family and her community to help support the boycott.