A Visit to Civil Rights Landmarks Renews Commitment to Social Justice

An excerpt from “A Visit to Civil Rights Landmarks Renews Commitment to Social Justice” from the Schar School of Policy and Government:

At the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Photo by ACE! staff.

What began as a road trip among colleagues to see important landmarks became a deeply moving—and motivating—journey into the heart of a nation’s darkness.

Some 20 incarceration, jurisprudence, and healthcare academics and professionals—as well as several doctoral students—spent three days in mid-November touring locations in Georgia and Alabama that were the battlegrounds in the fight for civil rights in the U.S. in the 1950s and ‘60s.

Most of the visitors to historic sites in Atlanta, Selma, Montgomery, and Birmingham were from the Schar School of Policy and Government’s Center for Advancing Correctional Excellence (ACE!), including doctoral students from the Schar School and George Mason University’s criminology department, rounded out with colleagues from Sam Houston State University, Arizona State University, Norwich University, and Justice Systems Partnership.

The trip was important, said ACE! founding director Faye Taxman, “to truly understand racism in the United States and how it influences our current criminal legal organizations. We need to understand how slavery and the old and new Jim Crow laws affected and continue to affect how our legal systems operate.”

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