Tomorrow, 240 New Orleans youth will travel to Birmingham and Tuscaloosa, AL with New Orleans City Council Vice-President Arnie Fielkow for an interactive Civil Rights Movement history lesson as well as to enjoy a Minor League Baseball game and a tour of the University of Alabama's football complex.
In an effort to include youth from neighborhoods across New Orleans, all eight police districts, as well as Orleans Parish Juvenile Court Judge Tracey Flemings-Davillier, assisted in recruiting the participants.
During this fourth annual recreational and educational trip, participating youth will be introduced to Civil Rights leaders Reverend Skip Alexander and Reverend Bill Greason who both peacefully fought for equality alongside Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.
Also accompanying the youth will be New Orleanian Herbert Simpson, a former Negro League baseball player. Both he and Reverend Greason, also a former Negro League ballplayer, will depict life as African American professional athletes in segregated America.
Further adding to the Civil Rights history lesson, the youth will visit the 16th Street Baptist Church and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.
"New Orleans and Birmingham are sister-cities linked as battlegrounds of the Civil Rights Movement. It is necessary that our youth understand the history we share and the plight of those that came before us. Hearing Civil Rights leaders speak from experience is the definition of an oral history lesson and one that will ring in their ears forever, just as they will never forget walking through the basement of the 16th Street Baptist Church," said Councilman Fielkow.
During the tour of the University of Alabama's football complex, Assistant Head Coach Burton Burns, a New Orleanian, will speak to the kids about making smart choices in life. Last year, he was joined by two of his players, including Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram.
In light of the recent tornado devastation in Alabama, Councilmember Fielkow will present Birmingham Mayor William Bell and the Salvation Army Area Commander, Major Todd Smith, with donated items. The donation will be made at Rickwood Field prior to the start of the Rickwood Classic MiLB game. Local groups that collected donated items are: City Hall employees, Touro Synagogue, Sophie B. Wright Charter School, Peter Mayer, Kinderhaus Montessori and St. David Catholic Church in the Lower Ninth Ward. Other donated items being brought from New Orleans are a signed Hornets basketball and jersey which will be auctioned off with other sports paraphernalia at the Rickwood Classic to benefit Alabama tornado victims.
Sponsors of the trip are New Orleans City Councilman at Large Arnie Fielkow, Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman and RPM Pizza. WBOK-AM radio and WWL-AM radio are the media sponsors.
"While this trip is designed to be a history lesson, it is also very much intended to coach these youth on overall life skills, from conflict resolution to making good decisions. The role models that they will be exposed to vary in age and experience, and they all have so much to offer our kids. I am really excited for all of those participating in this trip — including the adult chaperones — to experience this enriching and eye-opening trip to Alabama," added Fielkow.
Photo from Wikipedia.
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