Several students from Queens College “have a dream” that they are living out as they travel to Georgia and Alabama to walk in the footsteps of one of our nation’s most heralded civil rights leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
On Sunday, Jan. 15, led by Rabbi Moshe Shur, an adjunct professor at Queens College, 18 culturally and religiously diverse students left LaGuardia Airport to begin their journey and the third annual Queens College project, “In the Footsteps of Dr. King,” where they will visit Atlanta, GA, and Montgomery, Selma, and Birmingham, AL.
During the trip, students visited museums, memorials and historically important sites, as well as participate in a Martin Luther King Day march in Atlanta. In a new item on the project’s itinerary, the students will retrace King’s walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, where armed police officers attacked peaceful protesters.
Students will also get the chance to meet people who played a pivotal role in the fight for civil rights, including Barbara Emerson Williams, the daughter of Reverend Hosea Williams — King’s assistant — whose family foundation established Hosea Feed the Hungry in Atlanta.
For Rabbi Shur, the trip is more than just a project for his students, it is a chance to remember his time as a student volunteer in 1965 and 1966 when he joined other students for a summer initiative to register disenfranchised voters in six southern states. It was during this time that Shur — president of the student participants in the national project begun by King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference — got to meet King, who “brought us a vision of social justice for all Americans,” he said.
Students will be using video, photography and writing to record their experiences throughout the trip, which they will then share in a campus-wide presentation at Queens College this spring semester.