Southern Methodist University Offers a Tour of Civil Rights Historical Sites for College Credit

Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, offers a unique course for students of civil rights history. Each spring the Civil Rights Pilgrimage Travel Seminar takes students on a bus tour of important historical sites of the civil rights movement.

This year’s tour took 40 students to eight sites in five states over an eight-day period. Included among the stops were Medgar Evers’ house in Mississippi and the National Voting Rights Museum in Selma, Alabama.

Students taking the course have to pay $275. Group discussions are held each night at the conclusion of the day’s tour. Students earn college credit for the course and are required to read material about each stop on the tour, keep a journal, and write a term paper about the trip.

Each year the itinerary for the tour changes. Next spring’s tour will focus on Mississippi with stops in the town of Money, where Emmett Till was slain, and in Philadelphia, where three civil rights workers were murdered in the Freedom Summer of 1964.

Glenn M. Linden, an associate professor of history at SMU who is white, serves as the tour guide. Many of the students who take the tour are white. Blacks make up 6 percent of the undergraduate student body at SMU.