At Principia, field trips are not uncommon: day trips to cultural, community, and entrepreneurial hubs; overnights with the Principia Adventure outdoor ed. program; four-day character development trips. But this one was different. This trip was special.
In October, two groups of Principia students—19 middle schoolers, followed by 18 upper schoolers—embarked on an eye-opening journey to Memphis, Tennessee.
As they traveled south along the Mississippi River, they were also transported back in time, arriving at the Lorraine Motel on April 4, 1968. From the cars in the parking lot to the teacups on the bureau of room 306, the Lorraine Motel was preserved intact, Pompeii-like, in the aftermath of a seismic eruption.
In addition to being the site of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Lorraine Motel is home of the National Civil Rights Museum, an immersive multimedia journey through the nation’s complicated and fraught history of race relations. From the slave trade to Emmett Till to the Freedom Riders, students confronted a challenging legacy with an eye toward creating change.
The upper schoolers added a detour to nearby Ida B. Wells Plaza to commemorate the journalist and Civil Rights hero and make presentations to their peers. “This was the best class trip I’ve ever gone on,” said Aria, a senior on the Upper School trip. “It meant so much to me since I got to learn more about my culture's history and go to the historical sites!”
An eighth-grader summed up the impact by saying, “I can’t unsee that, so I guess I can’t be ignorant to it now.”
- Civil Rights
- Middle School
- Upper School