Sign up for ‘Study in America’ – Travel to Five States in 11 Days

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Twenty-five students, 11 days, five states, and an educational experience of a lifetime. Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is hosting a first-of-its-kind “Study in America” special topics course during Maymester 2019 (May 16 – June 1, 2019) that challenges students to examine the collective memory and existing historical spaces, monuments, and memorials dedicated to the Black Civil Rights Movement of the U.S. American South. The course includes four on-campus class sessions and 11 days of travel with stops in Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia. 

An information session about Study in America will be held Tuesday, Sept. 25, from 3-4:30 p.m. in the University Center, room 310.  All interested students are invited to attend.

The Maymester class is open to Islander students – both undergraduates and graduates – and is cross-listed to fulfill 3-credit hours in communication studies (COMM 4390/5390), history (HIST 4390), honors (HNRS 4390), women and gender studies (WGSS), directed independent study (DIS), or other disciplines with prior approval.

The course is more than just a “trip” – it’s an attempt to learn how the U.S. Black Civil Rights Movement is memorialized in the South, what messages are communicated, and who made those decisions. Along the way, students will observe and examine people, places, and spaces that relate to the Black Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. American South.

Sites visits include:

  • Prairie View, TX – Prairie View A&M, a Historically Black College/University (HBCU)
  • Little Rock, AR – Central High School and Little Rock 9 Memorial
  • Memphis, TN – National Civil Rights Museum and site of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination
  • Birmingham, AL – Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, 16th Street Baptist Church, and Kelly Ingram Park
  • Selma, AL – National Voting Rights Museum, Pettus Bridge
  • Montgomery, AL – Rosa Parks Museum, Legacy Museum, and Southern Poverty Law Center
  • Atlanta, GA – MLK Center, Ebenezer Baptist Church, CNN tour

Dr. Amy Aldridge Sanford, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of Communication Studies, is the instructor of record for the course, while Angela Walker, Associate Dean of Students, will facilitate all non-academic components of the course. The Study Abroad Office is also assisting with logistics.

“We want to examine the messages communicated by U.S. Black Civil Rights monuments and museums to different audiences,” said Sanford. “It’s also important to consider who made the decisions about what those places would potentially communicate.”

Course assignments consist of multiple readings, a journal or blog, written reflections, and citizenship. Many of the assignments will be completed on the road, which will add a new dynamic to student learning.

“This is a great opportunity to bring students from all walks of life together to discuss difficult topics on race relations and the impact of the Civil Rights Movement in our country,” said Walker. “This is the perfect time. Our students are ready to have these discussions and learn from our mistakes in history.”

It’s to be expected that some of the site visits will elicit wide-ranging emotions from students.

“I imagine that much of what we will see will be new to our students and potentially difficult to process,” said Sanford. “We’re prepared for that dynamic and will read literature, write personal reflections, and have group discussions both before and during the trip. Just because a conversation is difficult, doesn’t mean we should avoid it altogether.”

Estimated program fees are $1,900, which includes coach shuttle service, overnight accommodations, excursions/entrance fees, guest speaker/guide fees, and some group meals. Financial aid and scholarships may be available. For additional information on program application, eligibility, and important deadlines, CLICK HERE.