Thanks to a Thrive Grant from the Provost's Office, students in the Political and Social Thought Program traveled to the National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. on Saturday April 13, 2019.
The visit coincided with a series of third-year seminar readings from major authors like W.E.B. Du Bois, Ralph Ellison, Martin Luther King, and Toni Morrison.
Students described the vist in these terms:
- "Our trip to the National Museum of African American History and Culture was certainly one of the highlights of this past semester, if not the year. While several of us had been to the museum on our own, travelling with our PST cohort significantly bettered the experience as we were constantly discussing the themes and subjects of the museum. I walked away from this trip with significantly more knowledge about the long and bitter history of slavery, the role of popular culture in the fight for civil rights, and the history of the Civil Rights Movement , fueled by the will of millions of Americans fighting through many channels over centuries for fair and just treatment. Truly, this was an unforgettable experience of my college career."
- "The experience of the museum was often very heavy, as it remembers atrocities. I was particularly struck by the news notices that recently freed slaves placed searching for family members, as well as the Emmett Till memorial. But it also was a beautiful and hopeful experience, as I got to see the many feats of human resilience, and artifacts of cultural expression like paintings, poetry, and song. The trip also provided a chance for me to get to know my classmates better as we talked about the museum over lunch and on the long ride back home.
"My experience at the National Museum of African American History and Culture is one that I won't forget easily. I had never been to the museum, and I was excited to see if it lived up to the expectations set by my peers. I can honestly say it went well beyond anything I imagined. The exhibits are so smartly, thoughtfully and honestly put together. You become a part of history as you walk through it.
"I also loved the more celebratory exhibits upstairs. Even though there is so much pain involved in the history of African Americans in the United States, there is also so much to honor. The lives of this population is not just the difficult past, but it is the colorful present and hopeful future.
"I loved my trip to this museum especially, because I could share it with my classmates. Being allowed to learn and experience this place with my fellow PST students made the trip that much more exciting and personal."