Activism & Leadership Through the Lens of the American Civil Rights Movement

This program provides students the opportunity to tie the past to the present by understanding the history of the Civil Rights Movement and considering its modern iterations in America. We will explore activism in action by examining the myriad leadership styles and strategies employed by trailblazers of the Civil Rights Movement, and use those lessons to inspire students to be agents of change in their own communities.

We will begin our program in Atlanta, GA by delving into the early life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We will make stops throughout Alabama where we will visit such iconic sites as The Rosa Parks Bus Stop, The Legacy Museum, and Edmund Pettis Bridge. We will end our trip in Memphis, TN with live music and dancing at BB King’s Blues Club on Beale Street, where black traveling musicians started performing as early as the 1860’s. The final day of our journey will be spent at the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel, the site of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in 1968.  

Students will return from this trip with greater empathy for those who are currently struggling for equity and/or justice, a greater sense of empowerment in their ability to be agents of change, and a greater sense of engagement and a willingness to not only stay informed about current social justice issues, but to also stay involved.

Program Notes

  • Families are responsible for transportation from the Memphis, TN airport to the student’s destination for the remainder of March break.
  • During this trip students will stay in hotels and eat meals at the hotel and at local restaurants.
  • This trip conflicts with the March 12 SAT test date.
  • Students participating in winter post-season tournaments are still eligible to apply for this program.

Program dates

March 5 -13, 2022

Program Eligibility

This program is open to all students with a preference towards students who have a demonstrated interest in activism, leadership, and/or African-American literature and history. All interested students are encouraged to apply by December 6. Financial Aid is available to all qualifying students.

Faculty Trip Leaders

  • Erin Hutchinson; James Perry

Approx. trip cost: $4,225 plus $350 estimated airfare from DA to Atlanta, GA (final costs will be dependent on trip enrollment)

Deerfield Academy’s Center for Service and Global Citizenship is committed to running all of our travel programs at cost with overhead expenses subsidized by the Academy.


Helpful Links

  • CDC guidance on domestic travel during COVID-19

2022 Preliminary Itinerary

*Itinerary is subject to change.

March 5–6

  • Students will stay at a local hotel and will spend time on campus to prepare for their trip.

March 7

  • Departure from DA; Flight from New England based airport to Atlanta, GA

March 8: Atlanta, GA

  • Visit to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Historic Park and engage in a service project with the organization Hands on Atlanta
  • Bus to Little Five Points and free exploration

March 9: Atlanta, GA

  • Morning visit to Morehouse and Spelman followed by lunch at Centennial Park
  • Visit the National Center for Civil and Human Rights and drive to Montgomery, AL

March 10: Montgomery, AL

  • Morning visit to The National Memorial for Peace and Justice and afternoon visit to the Legacy Museum

March 11: Selma and Birmingham, AL

  • Visits to the Freedom Rider Museum and Civil Rights Memorial Center
  • Drive to Selma, AL
  • Walk through Bloody Sunday March Trail and walk over Edmund Pettus Bridge
  • Drive to Birmingham, AL

March 12: Memphis, TN

  • Morning visit to tour the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, the location of a 1963 bombing which killed four young girls, and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.
  • Afternoon drive to Memphis
  • Dinner, live music & dancing at BB Kings Blues Club

March 13

  • Morning visit to the National Civil Rights Museum at Lorraine Motel
  • Fly home