Juniors currently taking U.S. History recently took a field trip to the Missouri History Museum’s Civil Rights Exhibit, #1 in Civil Rights: The African American Freedom Struggle in St. Louis. The exhibit examines the local civil rights movement, from ground-level activism to groundbreaking court rulings, and the city’s leading role in advancing the cause of racial justice.
During the trip, students learned what it means to be an activist and the role activists—of all ages—play in taking a stand to protect people’s rights. They also explored important freedom cases and stories from the pre-Civil War era. While learning about the 1963 Jefferson Bank protests, students reenacted a protest and sang songs, as they learned what it meant to participate in nonviolent, peaceful protest and the various influencers and emotions that come into play. They visited the Ferguson section of the exhibit and observed artifacts and video stories demonstrating various perspectives behind the Ferguson protests. Granted special access to the museum’s primary sources, students explored newspaper files from events such as Ferguson, the Jefferson Bank protests, the Dred Scott case and more, where they identified the difference between fact, opinion and bias.
“St. Louis has such a rich history when it comes to civil rights – we’ve been at the center of so many key moments, and this trip gave our students an opportunity to learn more about that history, but also about the city that we live in today,” said Carla Federman, JK-12 History and Social Sciences Department Chair and AP U.S. History Teacher.