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Summer workshop gives WVHS teacher insight into Civil Rights movement

on September 26, 2016
Ms. Marcolina in front of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church

Ms. Marcolina in front of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church

Warwick Valley High School social studies teacher Holly Marcolina was selected from over 300 applicants to attend the National Endowment for the Humanities’ “Stony the Road We Trod” Summer Scholar Program in Birmingham, Alabama this past summer. During her time with the program, Ms. Marcolina also visited Selma, Montgomery and Tuskegee – all key cities in the struggle for Civil Rights.

The goal of this national program is for participants to gain a better understanding of the important events in Alabama that forced African American leaders to take their struggle for freedom and equality out of the church and social settings where they talked, planned, and strategized, and into the streets so the entire world could see what it meant to live under segregation in America.

Speaking about her experience in Alabama at the workshop, Ms. Marcolina said, “Hearing stories of life in Alabama in the 1950s and 60s showed me how a group of committed and focused people inspired dramatic change in our nation. I am grateful for this once-in-a-lifetime experience. It will forever change my teaching and outlook on those events.”

The highlights of the program for Ms. Marcolina were meeting the other participants and some of the leaders of the Civil Rights movement, including:

  • Joanne Bland, a youth participant of the Selma March for the Right to Vote and a co-founder of the National Voting Rights Museum
  • Katherine Burks Brooks, a “Freedom Rider”
  • Dr. Carolyn McKinstry, a survivor of the Sixteenth Street Church bombing
  • Former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones, who, 45 years after the event, successfully prosecuted the men who bombed the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church on Sept. 15, 1963
  • Fred Gray, an 86 year-old attorney still practicing in Tuskegee, Alabama. Mr. Gray defended his friend Rosa Parks’ actions in court, leading to the Montgomery Bus Boycott in the 1950s

View a photo gallery of Ms. Marcolina’s workshop in Alabama on the District’s Facebook page.
(You don’t need a Facebook account to view the photos.)

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