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Middle School Students Take an Educational Tour of Georgia

Recently, I worked with Cathy Carlton, a Social Studies teacher for Bennett’s Mill Middle School in Fayetteville, Georgia, to create an itinerary for a class trip that encompassed historical highlights of the state of Georgia.  Her class on Georgia history spans an entire school year.  The class begins with the prehistoric Indians and continues with Colonial studies, a close look at the American Revolution, the antebellum period and Civil War. Studies also include a consideration of the impact of modern wars, a look at regions of Georgia and economics that thrive in them, and the way entrepreneurs have impacted life in the state.

An Educational Tour of Georgia in Sync with Curriculum Objectives
In previous years, Carlton took the student travel group to Savannah for three days and two nights. This year, she found it more economical to limit the trip to two days and one night, so more students could afford to attend. But saving money was not the only motivation to create this unique tour.  “I felt like this trip was much more meaningful because we were able to visit many more sites around the state,” noted Carlton.

Students Travel to Different Sites Across the State of Georgia
Some highlights of the tour included a visit to Milledgeville, Georgia, the first capital of the state, a tour of Andersonville Prison, where prisoners of war were housed during the Civil War, and a tour of CNN Studios in Atlanta, where students were able to see how television news is produced.  In Atlanta, students also visited the Governor’s Mansion as well as The Bremen Jewish Heritage and Holocaust Museum and Oakland Cemetery, where famous Georgians were interred.

The first stop on the tour was Andersonville Prison, a two-hour bus ride from the group’s hometown.  Carlton wanted students to see this National Historic Site, because it tied in with their classroom studies of the Civil War and modern wars.  Students toured the site and gained a better understanding of the place where Northern soldiers were detained and housed during the Civil War. They were also engaged in learning about the dynamics of prisoners of war, and how it affects our society as a whole.

A Student Tour of Milledgeville:  Georgia’s First Capital City
The visit to Millledgeville seemed especially important to Carlton, as it tied in nicely with her curriculum and gave students a chance to actually see the grandeur of the historic capital.  Carlton said, “Students were really impressed by the fact that the capital began there. It was eventually moved to Atlanta so it could be more centrally located.  We were able to visit the Old Capitol Building, but we missed our tour of the Governor’s Mansion there, because we were running a little late, having spent more time at Andersonville then we anticipated.”

Educational Trip to Atlanta Includes Multiple Destinations
When the student tour group reached Atlanta, they took a break to eat supper at the Hard Rock Café, then toured Oakland Cemetery, where Bobby Jones, Maynard Jackson and Margaret Mitchell are buried.  “The guided tours of Oakland Cemetery included the graves of these famous Georgians — which were part of our studies — and many other historical people as well,” observed Carlton.

The educational tour group spent the evening at the Hampton Inn near the Perimeter Mall where breakfast was included the following morning.  Their tour of Atlanta began with a look at the Governor’s Mansion, where they actually saw Governor Perdue leaving the building that day.  This was followed by lunch at the Varsity, a famous Atlanta landmark.

The afternoon was filled with a visit to the Bremen Holocaust Museum.  Carlton was impressed with the tours given here, which were led by “survivors or family members of survivors.  It was fascinating for students to hear what the holocaust was actually like.  The group also viewed artifacts and videos of the holocaust.”

The trip on Georgia history concluded with a tour of CNN Studios in Atlanta, founded by the famous entrepreneur Ted Turner, who also started the first television station in Georgia, TBS.  The group of over 81 students was broken up into smaller groups for the studio tour, where they saw live news and also had a chance to glimpse the behind the scenes work involved in airing national news 24-hours per day.  Carlton recalled, “Students were thrilled by seeing the live newscasters, because they recognized some of the people they’ve seen on television.”

Educational Trip of Georgia was a Success!
Overall, creating a historical tour of Georgia was a positive experience for me and my staff. Usually, student tours are limited to the Atlanta metro area, because there are many educational sites to see in this city. After collaborating with Carlton on the creation of this custom tour, I can now see the benefits of widening the scope of destinations in Georgia.  It provides students a larger view of Georgia’s history because it includes landmarks that may be lesser known, but are equally important in understanding state history.

Student travel groups interested in touring Atlanta may want to consider including some of these prominent sites in their tour with visits to Milledgeville and Andersonville Prison included on their itinerary.  Overall, students did not spend more than 3 ½ hours on the bus the first day, and they had plenty of stops to keep the travel time interesting.

Request a quote for a student tour of Georgia or email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com for a quote.

Historic places of the Civil Rights Movement: the Atlanta University District

    The four institutions that were most prominent in the civil rights movement include Morehouse College, which was also known at the time as the “black Harvard”, Spelman College, Clark Atlanta University, and West Hunter Street Baptist Church. This area is part of the National Park Service’s “We Shall Overcome” tour, historic places of the civil rights movement. Students visiting these sites gain a greater understanding of the people involved in the movement.  They also learn that the movement was organized in a campus setting by college students. Martin Luther King, Jr. graduated from Morehouse College and Morehouse students Lonnie King and Julian Bond organized marches, boycotts and sit-ins throughout the city. Spelman student Ruby Doris Smith helped lead freedom rides, sit-ins, jail-ins and vote registration drives. Civil Rights leaders W.E.B. Du Bois and Whitney Young, Jr. taught and chaired departments at Atlanta University. The Reverend Ralph Abernathy pastored West Hunter Street Baptist church when he was the head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
There are options for student travel groups visiting Atlanta.  A student tour may primarily focus on Black History, with other types of historic sites included.  Or, a historic tour with a larger focus may include some points of interest for Black History.  Either option provides educational tours a diverse viewpoint of American history. Following is a breakdown of some of the highlights of the National Park Service “We Shall Overcome” tour.

Morehouse College:
In 1867, just two years after the Civil War ended, Augusta Institute was established in the basement of the Springfield Baptist Church in Augusta, Ga. Founded in 1787, Springfield Baptist church is still the oldest independent African American church in the United States. The schools primary purpose was to prepare black men for the ministry and teaching. In 1913 Augusta Institute became Morehouse College, which is located on a 66-acre campus in Atlanta and enjoys an international reputation for producing leaders who have influenced national and world history. On the campus is the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel, the world’s most prominent religious memorial to alumnus Martin Luther King, Jr. The chapel seeks to develop and promote clergy, laity and youth awakening through reconciliation, non-violence, science, spirituality and the building of global “communities of hope”. A tour of the country’s leading historically black college can easily be added to a student travel tour.
Spelman College:
Founded as Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary in 1811 in the basement of Friendship Baptist Church, the institution became Spelman Seminary in 1884 and then Spelman College in 1924. The college sits on 32 acres just 3 miles from downtown Atlanta and consists of 25 buildings. It is a private, independent liberal arts college for women today, considered among the top historically black colleges in the nation. An educational tour of this campus requires prior registration and is suggested since approved dates fill up early.
Clark Atlanta University:
Atlanta University was founded in 1865 by the American Missionary Association and was supplying black teachers and librarians to the public schools of the south by 1879. In 1930 it began an affiliation with Morehouse and Spelman colleges in a university plan known as the Atlanta University System. The campus was moved to its present site and Clark College, Morris Brown College and the Interdenominational Theological Center joined the affiliation later. Clark College was founded in 1869 as Clark University by the Freedman’s Aid Society of the Methodist church.
West Hunter Street Baptist Church:
Founded as the Friendship Baptist church in 1881, West Hunter Street Baptist Church was moved to its current location in 1906 on West Hunter Street. In 1961 Ralph D. Abernathy became the pastor. Mr. Abernathy and Martin Luther King, Jr. founded the Southern Baptist Leadership Conference and worked together to lead successful bus boycotts and change through advocating non-violence. Upon Dr. King’s death, Abernathy succeeded him as president of the SBLC and continued their work.
The University Tour District of Atlanta provides the most “walking in the footsteps” experience available to student travel groups looking to be immersed in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s. Students interested in pursuing careers as teachers, ministers, librarians, or lawyers may find this tour especially inspiring. For more information on creating an African American history tour, which can be customized to incorporate additional civil rights sites in the Atlanta, Georgia area, email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com.

View this article on Ideamarketers.com.

Points of Interest to an African American History Tour of Atlanta Georgia

Many historical points of interest to a black history educational tour are within the Atlanta, GA area. Museums and historical sites abound in the Atlanta area and can complement a student travel tour with a curriculum based on the Civil Rights movement. Being in actual buildings once occupied by great civil rights leaders give students a greater understanding of the subject. Since Atlanta was the birthplace and the city where Martin Luther King, Jr. launched his career as a pastor and a leader in the Civil Rights Movement, it is the best place to gain a better understanding of black history in the U.S.
Following are my recommendations of Black Heritage sites in the greater Atlanta metro area that are a necessary component of a comprehensive student tour.

The Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historic Site:

Student Travel Tours Learn About the Civil Rights Movement
This site includes a number of facilities that operate in partnership with the National Park Service, Ebenezer Church and the King Center. Among the points of interest are the Visitors Center with a museum, interactive exhibits and films about Dr King and the Civil Rights movement.

Ebenezer Baptist Church
Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church is immediately adjacent to the Visitors Center. It is here, in the church’s meeting space, that Dr King planned civil rights strategies of non-violence. Dr King was ordained here and became co-pastor from 1960 until his assassination in 1968. Students visiting this place of worship can walk in the footsteps of America’s most prominent civil rights leader. Student travel groups always feel inspired by being in the space where Dr King spoke so eloquently about social change through non-violence. It is here that Dr King wrote many of his famous speeches while he was the main force behind the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

The King Center
Directly across Auburn Avenue is the King Center and Dr King’s tomb. At the grave, Coretta Scott King established a living memorial dedicated to her late husband’s non- violent movement for justice, equality and peace. The center utilizes books, audio and video cassettes, film, television, CDs and web pages, to educate students about Dr. King’s life, work and his philosophy of nonviolent conflict-reconciliation and social change. Students will find this site to contain some of the most detailed writings and artifacts of MLK’s career as a minister and civil rights leader.

The Martin Luther King, Jr., Birthplace & Home
The King birth home is a short walk down Auburn Avenue from the King Center. It was built in 1895 and Martin Luther King, Jr. was born here on January 15, 1929 and lived here for 12 years. The home is restored to reflect the period of 1930s and 40s when Dr King lived here as a child.

A comprehensive Black Heritage Tour should include the preservation district of Auburn Avenue, immediately adjacent to the National Park complex. This area includes many points of interest on a Black History tour of Atlanta such as Historic Fire Station # 6 which is currently maintained as a museum, bookstore and gift shop.

Atlanta History Center: the Black Phoenix tour illustrates the Black Heritage of Atlanta
Student tours that visit the Atlanta History center will find this museum interesting. The Black Phoenix tour follows the journey of the African American experience in Atlanta from slavery to the Civil Rights Movement. The tour continues inside the museum with a visit to the Shaping Traditions exhibition to learn how customs were brought from Africa and passed down for generations. Next students visit the Turning Point exhibition to learn about the impact of the Civil War. Finally, student travel groups may tour the Metropolitan Frontiers exhibition for a stroll down Auburn Avenue. Here students learn about the pioneers of black business in Atlanta and the civil rights leaders who helped make Atlanta the city that it is today.

Tullie Smith Farm: Student Tour Groups Learn About Life as an African Slave

A student tour is greatly enhanced with a trip to the Tullie Smith Farm to see a settler’s cabin and learn about slave life. A Black History Civil War Performance shows living history interpreters portray African Americans during the Civil War in Georgia.

Jimmy Carter Presidential Center and Museum: Students learn about the President’s early work for the Civil Rights Movement in Georgia politics

The Museum of the Jimmy Carter Library includes photographs and historical memorabilia from the Carter presidency (1976 – 1981). An exact replica of the Oval Office and gifts received by the Carters are also featured. A permanent exhibit of significant events occurring during Jimmy Carter’s life and political career includes photographs with interpretative text. Students will learn about Jimmy Carter’s childhood and race for President, and study some of the issues that American Presidents have confronted.

Wrens Nest: African American History Atlanta Tour site

By preserving the legacy of Joel Chandler Harris and the heritage of African American folklore through storytelling, tours and special events, the Wren’s Nest serves as an educational resource and entertainment venue for the community, and student travel groups to the greater Atlanta area. The Wren’s Nest was the home of Joel Chandler Harris from 1881 until 1908 and was named for the wrens that made a nest in the mailbox. Today the home features most of the Harris family’s original furniture and belongings, and is Atlanta’s oldest house museum.

It is in Atlanta that I have found the most intriguing sites to inspire and educate student travel groups about the African American experience and the civil rights movement of the 20th century within the U.S. This complete tour will have a lasting effect on all that experience it.

For more information on creating a Black Heritage tour for students visiting the Atlanta Georgia area, email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com.

View this article on Ideamarketers.com.