MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) – A historic moment for a group of Mobile students. Clark-Shaw Magnet School students traveled to Selma, Alabama on Friday to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge with family members of one of the Courageous Eight.
54-years-ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was invited by Frederick Reese to Selma to lead the voting rights movement. Reese, one of Selma’s Courageous Eight group, was in the front row as they walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
Half a century later, his children and grandchildren were joined by a group of students from Clark-Shaw Magnet School, to walk over the bridge once more.
“It changed a lot, and to get where we are now, it’s amazing,” said Jordan Martin, an 8th grader.
“This trip truly changed me,” said 8th grader Samantha Guillotte.
The students’ teacher, Miranda Manley, urging students to study ‘living history.’
“We can’t just avoid history because some of it is ugly or shameful or embarrassing,” said Manley.
When Manley was graduating from college, she had a chance encounter.
“I met Reverend Frederick Reese when I was graduating from college, looking for a job teaching. He was retiring from his education career. And he just briefly explained to me that he had participated in the march on Selma. So I spent the rest of my career trying to remember his name because I didn’t know his name. And trying to find his name. But I always taught my children his story,” said Manley.
Two years ago, her students challenged her to track Reese down.
“He invited me to his home and I was able to thank him for teaching me to teach my students how to find the living history,” said Manley.
Bridging the gap between the generations.
“I truly can’t explain how much this trip means to me and how much it’s changed like my whole view on life in general. How people were treated before versus how people are treated now,” said Guillotte.