Camelot Students Prepare for Selma to Montgomery “Bloody Sunday” March Re-enactment
Students spent Black History Month inspired by the people and issues connected to this historic event
(Pensacola, FL – February 26, 2015)
Camelot students with the signs they made are
looking forward to going to Selma on Sunday, March 8.
When Camelot Academy of Escambia 8th grade reading teacher Alexandria Palmer began this semester with lessons on the 1965 Selma to Montgomery march for voting rights she had no idea how interested and engaged her students would become with the people, issues and events of the time.
The lessons were designed to last for a week but have run the entire month with students taking on the roles of some of the characters and making postcards to pass out to students and staff around the school.
The Camelot students’ studies will culminate during a field trip to join other marchers from around the nation on Sunday, March 8th to mark the 50th anniversary of the “Bloody Sunday” march, so named for the brutal attack the marchers when they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge out of Selma.
Camelot student Astrien Mitchell finds it hard to
believe that different races could not drink
from the same water fountain
just a few decades ago.
“No one really ever taught these students about their past and they were very interested in learning how everything happened, and the struggles it took to gain the rights we have today,” said Palmer.
The students are taking great pride in the reenactment and are excited about the entire subject.
“There are too many people today – black and white – who still don’t have all their rights,” said 7th grade student Summer Kemper. “I want to feel that I am a part of history as all diverse groups are fully accepted by our society.”
The students held a practice march, chanting and carrying signs on February 25, looking forward to the two-hour bus rude to Selma on March 8th.
“It’s cool to go to where it really happened,” remarked 8th grader Destiny Bradley. Eleventh grader Casey Scott had the honor of reading a part of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Selma speech as part of the rehearsal. “I loved the feeling it gives me to read his words. It makes me feel like I was really there 50 years ago.”
Camelot students (L-R) Casey Scott, Summer
Kemper and Destiny Bradley say they have
learned a lot this month about the
struggle for civil rights.
Finally, student Astrien Mitchell said he and his fellow students are trying to send a message to the current generation of those in office that they should understand that for many the struggle for equal rights is not over.
“It was eye opening to learn there was a time when people of different races had to drink from separate water fountains; I can’t even believe there was a time like that,” Mitchell said. “Things today are good but they can be better. And that’s the point we want to make in Selma.”
Camelot of Escambia County is an alternative education school where students who have gotten into trouble at their traditional public school come to receive help and guidance with their issues and get a new start with their behavior and academics. Most students successfully return to their original schools within six months, positively affected by the Camelot culture.