AYA Civil Rights and Colleges & University Tour 2015: Day Five!

This post was written by Alecia Taylor, 8th grade,
Tyler White, 8th grade, and Khalil Simms, 7th grade.

Day 5 of our Civil Rights and College & University Tour began with us being able to sleep in. It’s been a busy trip and we appreciated grabbing some extra hours of sleep in the morning. We started our day at the SCAD (Savannah College of Art & Design) Museum. The SCAD Museum is a museum of primarily contemporary art. There were a lot of interesting works displayed outside the museum and in the lobby. The first sculpture that we viewed were tall columns made of steel nails that were welded together. The tour guide showed us various artists’ work but our favorite was that of famous African American artist, Jacob Lawrence. His art depicted the life, love, and history of African Americans. The highlight of his displayed work was his 8-frame depiction of “the creation” story.

Next, we participated in the African American Heritage Tour. A portion of this tour included visiting First African Baptist Church. The church was well crafted consisting of furniture originally constructed in the mid 1800s. Slaves had a heavy-hand in constructing First African Baptist Church. We learned that slaves used art or symbols to express themselves or share messages since they couldn’t read or write. The squared ceiling design shared to slaves that the church was a safe haven and a part of the Underground Railroad. In the basement we saw groups of small holes in the floor, which helped with ventilation, as slaves traveled under the floorboards. We also visited Savannah’s Civil Rights museum that displayed Savannah’s impact and contrast in their Civil Rights experience. We learned that Savannah became very integrated but didn’t experience the same level of violence experience in other southern cities. After the tour we had a quick lunch and made our way to Fort Pulaski State Park.

Fort Pulaski is a historic Civil War site located on Tybee Island. We got to see the cannons they used during the war. Also, we learned how to shoot the cannons. It was a team effort requiring five people, each with a specific job. It was interesting to discover that what we refer to as “guns” today was referred to as “small arms” during the Civil War era. Cannons were called guns during the Civil War. Fort Pulaski was also a safe haven for slaves. When it was conquered by the Union Army emancipation was issued, freeing all slaves on the Fort grounds. Finally, we departed Fort Pulaski and headed to Macon, GA. It was the longest leg of our trip but the singing of chaperones Ms. Scales and Mr. Lucas kept us entertained. Saturday is our last day of the tour which will include a stop at the Harriet Tubman Museum.

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AYA Civil Rights and College & University Tour 2015: Day Four (of Five)

With this year’s trip winding down, AYA students continue to experience new insights and discoveries about their home state. Check back tomorrow for the last day of this wonderful tour!

This post was written by Tyson Ringold, 7th grade;
Khalil Simms, 7th grade; and Dwayne McGruder, 8th grade.

 The fourth day of our wonderful trip was spent at Georgia Southern University, Savannah State University, The Sisters of The New South, and River Street.

Our first destination was going to be the Pinpoint Museum, but we had to show limitless flexibility because Pinpoint was flooded due to the rain earlier in the week. So instead we went to Georgia Southern. One of our alumni, Aab Gruduah, (AYA class of ’11) met us and had a good conversation with us. Also, one of our chaperone’s friends, Christopher Pugh, works at Georgia Southern. He gave us words of inspiration for how we can be successful. We didn’t stay long, but we got a lot out of brief time there.

After we left Georgia Southern, we went to Savannah State University, the oldest public historically black college in Georgia. After touring the whole campus, we were surprised by the presence of the Junior Class Vice President resident as well as a group of marathon runners dressed in silly costumes to celebrate Halloween. We checked into the hotel and some of us had the chance to play basketball.

We had a delightful dinner at Sisters of the New South. Then we went down to the famous River Street where we treated ourselves to ice cream and candy at River Street Sweets, Savannah’s famous candy store. The candy store reminded us of New Orleans because the shop had a distinct set-up and color that made us crave sweets. They even made candy right in front of us! When we left the candy shop, we heard the sound of beautiful music that we had to check out. It was a gentleman with a trumpet. He played music and we had a great time.  Tired, we returned the hotel to debrief, relax and get ready for tomorrow.

Savannah has a lot to see, so we’ll be spending more time here tomorrow.

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AYA Civil Rights and College & University Tour 2015: Day Three (of Five)

Over the next few days we’ll be posting photos and reflections from AYA students on this year’s tour of Georgia — so please stay tuned!

Day 3: The Lucy Laney Museum and Paine College,
written by Loi Morris, 8th Grade, and Zxavien Lucas, 7th Grade

Today marked the third day of our college tour and our itinerary was packed full of excitement and adventure. We hit the road at 7:30am, heading to Augusta, Ga. On our first stop we toured the Lucy Laney Museum. Our tour director was Joyce Law. Mrs. Law is a native of Augusta just like the famous educator Lucy Laney. Touring was Mrs. Joyce’s dream job; she was very passionate and knowledgeable about the history of Augusta. Lucy Laney founded the Haines Normal and Industrial Institute that is currently under renovation. Pine Grove Missionary Baptist Church donated a beautiful grand piano to the Lucy Laney Museum. The Lucy Laney Museum has something for people all over the world to learn. One of the most interesting pieces of the museum were the quilts that displayed symbols the runaway slaves used to communicate with each other. After we toured the museum, everyone got on a trolley to explore a few historic places in Augusta related to Lucy Laney. We also saw two statues of James Brown and James Oglethorpe. Some of the seventh and eighth graders took pictures with the statues. After we were done at the Lucy Laney Museum we headed to Paine College. 

When we got to Paine we were scheduled to observe the rehearsal of the Paine College Chamber Singers, led by Professor Wayne Woodson. The Chamber Singers are known as one of the best College Choirs in the state! To our surprise, the Chamber Singers divided us up in to sopranos, altos, tenors, and base and we enjoyed singing along with them. Very soon, the singing turned into dancing, and we had an awesome time. This was definitely a highlight on everyone’s list. We then toured the Gilbert-Lambuth Memorial Chapel. It was one of the most beautiful sanctuaries we had ever laid our eyes on. The chapel is also used for various musical concerts and symphonies conducted in Augusta.  Next, we began our tour of Paine College which included trading baskets with the Paine College basketball team. That was a very cool experience for all the up-and-coming basketball stars! Our day ended with dinner and team building exercises with Mr. Thaddous, an educator, a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., and a friend of our very own Ms. Stanley. The workshop with Mr. Thaddous was very hard but it was fun and rewarding. Tomorrow, we travel to Savannah, GA making stops at the Pinpoint Museum, Savannah St., and a night on River Street!

Click on the images to enlarge them for best viewing.

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