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Sankofa Civil Rights Trip

Each year, Bethel students take a challenging journey over spring break-traveling through the major sites of the American struggle for civil rights. Apply online for Sankofa


March 13-20, 2015 (spring break)


Application fee: $100
Students: $495
Staff and faculty: $550

Limited scholarships are available. Contact Tanden Brekke for more information.


Students travel to sites throughout the American south that were foundational in the civil rights struggle.

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. Through meeting local leaders, talking with experts, and visiting historic sites, students discover the role of faith, sacrifice, and commitment that formed the spirit of the civil rights era and how that applies to our community today.

Memphis, Tennessee

National Civil Rights Museum
The trip begins where Martin Luther King Jr.'s life ended-at a museum that was formerly the Lorraine Motel and 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.

Atlanta, Georgia

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial
Ebenezer Baptist Church
Tour the home where Martin Luther King Jr. grew up as well as the church he led with his father. Spend the day in the King family's neighborhood and view his final resting place.

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." Learn why the timing of this event caught the attention of the nation.

Montgomery, Alabama

Rosa Parks Museum and Library
Civil Rights Memorial Center
Visit a museum dedicated to Rosa Parks and the Montgomery bus boycotts. We'll also see how the important work of reconciliation is proceeding in Alabama today.

Chicago, Illinois

Community Renewal Society
A society that informs, organizes and trains communities and individuals to advocate for social and economic justice.

Who Should Participate

The Sankofa trip is designed for students who want to:

  • Engage with other across race and ethnicity in team settings
  • Experience personal growth through experiences that create deep emotional and cognitive challenges
  • Learn about various personal, community, and cultural norms and their value in sustaining African American cultures
  • Explore actions that lead to social equality

The trip is also open to all Bethel staff and faculty.

Next Steps

Pray, learn, ask questions, and consider completing the application!

Applications will be available in the fall. After we receive your application, we will contact you in order to meet in person so that we can get to know you and your heart for this trip.

Apply early so you have plenty of time to begin preparing for this intense experience.

How to Apply

Apply online for Sankofa. Questions? Contact Tanden Brekke at t-brekke@bethel.edu or Bo Adedeji at bma42923@bethel.edu