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Sankofa Civil Rights Movement Trip

This spring, Bethel students, staff, and faculty will visit sites that had significant impact during the civil rights movement.


March 9-17, 2024 (spring break)


Students travel to places of memory and reflection. 

Memphis, Tennessee
National Civil Rights Museum
The place where Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life ended. The museum we will visit is formerly the Lorraine Motel, the site of Dr. King’s assassination.

Birmingham, Alabama
Sixteenth Street Baptist Church
Kelly Ingram Park
Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
We will visit the church where a bomb killed four little girls in a Sunday school classroom, the park where police turned dogs and fire hoses on teenage marchers, and a museum that preserves powerful reminders of these events.

Tuskgeekee, Alabama

Tuskegee University is a private, historically black university in Tuskegee, Alabama. It was established by Lewis Adams and Booker T. Washington. 

Selma, Alabama
National Voting Rights Museum
Cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge where peaceful marchers seeking the right to vote were beaten by police on “Bloody Sunday.”

Montgomery, Alabama (New Site) 
National Peace and Justice Memorial
A national memorial to commemorate the victims of lynching in the United States. The memorial is intended to acknowledge past racial terrorism and advocate for social justice in America. 

Atlanta, Georgia
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
Ebenezer Baptist Church
Tour the home where Dr. King grew up, as well as the church he led with his father.

The Experience

Sankofa is a word from the Akan people of Ghana, West Africa, which is part of an expression meaning "it is not taboo to go back and fetch what you forgot." This means we must go back to our roots in order to move forward.

On the Sankofa trip, students learn that whatever we have been stripped of, lost, or forgotten can be reclaimed, revived, and preserved for the future.

Who Should Participate

The Sankofa trip is designed for students who want to:

  • Learn about the vital contributions of the civil rights movement.
  • Engage in active listening that increases their capacity for cognitive and emotional empathy.
  • Learn about historical and current dehumanizing systems of injustice.
  • Reflect on how they see themselves in relation to others.
  • Build capacity to acknowledge individual and collective wrongs and find ways to work towards healing.
  • Develop concrete ways that the trip content intersects with their daily lives.
  • The trip is also open to all Bethel staff and faculty.

Next Steps

We are currently not taking applications for Sankofa, but if you have any questions contact pastor Matt Runion matt-runion@bethel.edu.