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Exploring the Legacies and Lessons of the Civil Rights Movement in the US South: 

A Pilgrimage to Birmingham, Montgomery, Selma, Jackson, the Mississippi Delta and Memphis

May 28 – June 6, 2024

The events of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, occurring largely in the U.S. South, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest, profoundly changed the course of our nation’s history, leading to the abolishment of legalized racial segregation, discrimination, and disenfranchisement.  Through the non-violent, peaceful means of marches, protests, walk-outs, sit-ins, boycotts and demonstrations, citizens and movement leaders resisted continuing oppression and engaged in a hard-fought struggle to expand civil rights and dismantle the structural racism of their time.

Edmund Pettus Bridge

Today our country struggles anew with efforts to diminish human rights, restrict voting, revise history, ban books and whitewash our nation’s hard but real history of racial inequality and violence.  State legislatures are taking action to reinforce systems of structural racism, disenfranchise voters, circumvent the judicial system, and silence those who confront white supremacy practices.  Affirmative action and desegregation, once   cornerstones of anti-racism progress, are both being dismantled at the local and national levels.  Hate groups have come out of the shadows online and in real life, their violent tactics and teachings embraced by fringe groups and tacitly condoned by extremist political leaders.    It is clear that the twentieth century’s problem of racism is our continuing legacy today. 

Join the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program as we embark on a civil rights pilgrimage through the U.S. South, exploring the historically important sites of the civil rights movement, learning about the lives of the people who made up the movement, meeting with leaders and those who can share stories of those times, and wrestling with the legacies of racism and white supremacy even as they reappear in our communities and nation today.

This Peacemaking Travel Study Seminar will begin in Birmingham, AL and travel to Montgomery and Selma, AL, Jackson, MS, the Mississippi Delta region and conclude in Memphis, TN.  Participants will be expected to use the seminar resource list and attend pre-seminar group meetings in advance and to develop and implement an anti-racism action plan upon completion of the seminar.

This seminar is being conducted in partnership with the Presbytery of Sheppards and Lapsley, St. Andrews Presbytery, Mississippi Presbytery and the Presbytery of the Mid-South.  It has been approved as an alternative learning context for students at Princeton Theological Seminary.

The seminar planning team members include Rev. James Ephraim, Debra Love and Terri Moon Jones (Presbytery of Sheppards and Lapsley); Carl Horton and Simon Doong (Presbyterian Peacemaking Program)


Participants are responsible for their own travel to and from the seminar.  Arrivals into Birmingham, AL (BHM) should be scheduled for Tuesday, May 28 in time for dinner at the hotel at 6:00 pm. Departures from Memphis, TN (MEM) may be scheduled for Thursday afternoon, June 6 after 2:00 pm.  For those who wish, the bus will return to Birmingham on Thursday evening, June 6.  Participants may depart Birmingham (BHM) on Friday, June 7.  Lodging in Birmingham on June 7 is not included.  Participants will be away for one Sunday. 


The seminar will last 10 days and includes lodging for 9 nights.  Accommodations are double-occupancy. Some single-occupancy rooms may be available for an additional charge.  Those who choose to extend their travel either before or after the seminar may do so on their own and at their own expense.  


The seminar cost per participant is $2,800.  Cost is per-person double-occupancy including all seminar expenses (meals, accommodations, program, tips, tours, and transportation during the seminar).  Airline transportation to and from the seminar is not included. Limited single occupancy is available for an additional charge of $790.

Financial Assistance & Scholarships

If applicants are seeking financial assistance to help pay for their participation in this Travel Study Seminar, they are encouraged to first reach out to their congregation or mid-council, many of whom have Peace and Global Witness Offering funds available.  There are also limited scholarships available from the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program for the following groups:

  • first call pastors and those new in ministry who demonstrate financial need
  • individuals who identify as Black, Indigenous, or a Person of Color (BIPOC)


Applications are due by Friday, February 23, 2024.  After that date, applications will be considered as space remains available.