Civil Rights Pilgrimage 2019

Apply now for Fall 2019 or Spring 2020

Civil Rights Pilgrimages 2019 – 2020:


1) Fall 2019 – Civil Rights Pilgrimage: changing the narrative

Now Open To All Applicants

Deadline to submit application, August 16th, 2019

October 19th – 27th, 2019 *travel dates

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” – James Baldwin, Civil Rights Activist, Writer

Calling all change-makers: activists, parents, CEO’s and writers, photographers, musicians, dancers, painters, filmmakers.

Project Pilgrimage’s Fall Civil Rights Pilgrimage is an impactful 8-day experience that will shift your perceptions of yourself, your culture and your history. Join us for a deeply rich experience that dives head first into the racial history of our nation and builds radical community along the way.

One of the critical components of what we do in our work is in the coming home after we have walked in spaces where our history was made. Inspired by the courage of activism and the power of the stories we share and hear, we are bound to share our insights with those around us.

Beginning in New Orleans, LA, we explore the roots of slavery and the art that emerged and thrives today. We travel to profoundly historic places in the American Civil Rights movement; Jackson MS, Sumner MS, Birmingham, Montgomery, Selma, and Tuscaloosa AL. We stand in spaces where ordinary people have changed the course of history, we examine stories told and untold, the truth, and the power of a single voice. Along the way we travel with Dr. Bernard LaFayette, Kate LaFayette, Bob Zellner, and Dr. Carolyn McKinstry to examine lessons learned from movement organizing.

This will be a group of 30- 35 adults representing all aspects of our community. Upon return, we will be asking participants to share back through their work. We envision this as an exciting way to move this work into the contemporary discussion and shifting narratives of our time.

Come be a part of this rich community as we study our racial history, explore the fabric of our collective stories, and share in the building of this vibrant experience.


2) Spring 2020 –Civil Rights Pilgrimage: Montgomery to Selma

Deadline to submit application, December 3rd, 2019

February 25 – March 2, 2020* travel dates

Our 13th Civil Right Pilgrimage will be a 6 day meditation on our shared history, our unlearned history and the powerful transformation that comes when we listen and learn to understand. We are centering ourselves in Montgomery for a deep examination of our roots, ourselves, and of our future. We will work with Dr. Bernard LaFayette, Kate LaFayette, Bob Zellner, and Dr. Carolyn McKinstry to examine lessons learned from movement organizing. We will deepen our understanding of how to shift and change our worlds, and work towards shaping a new path forward.

This will be an interracial intergenerational group, 35-40 adults (21 or older). *previous Civil Rights Pilgrimage participants are encouraged to apply for this deep dive experience


Pilgrimage Dates + Applications:

Fall 2019 – Civil Rights Pilgrimage: Changing the Narrative through Art

October 19th – 26th, 2019 *travel dates


Spring 2020 – Civil Rights Pilgrimage: Montgomery to Selma

February 25 – March 2, 2020 *travel dates



The cost of this Civil Rights Pilgrimage covers all of the expenses of creating a curated immersive experience. These include all pre Pilgrimage-meetings, and during the trip all food, lodging, the charter bus, tickets/admittance fees and honorariums to every foot soldier and organization we meet over the course of the journey.

*Airfare to and from the South is not included in this cost.

Project Pilgrimage is committed to creating equitable access to our Civil Rights Pilgrimages. If cost is a barrier to you attending, we offer scholarships within a sliding scale range. We also offer a payment plan to help relieve the burden of cost.

If you will be unable to pay the full cost, we invite you to apply for scholarship funding from Project Pilgrimage.

*Please know that applying for scholarship funding does not disqualify your application. Project Pilgrimage strives to break down any economic barriers to this trip. However, as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit—100% funded by donor support—we are, regrettably, limited in the amount of scholarship funding we offer.

Costs:  2019 Fall Civil Rights Pilgrimage 9 day $3600.

Costs: 2020 Spring Civil Rights Pilgrimage 7 day $3000.

We are committed to change through understanding

At Project Pilgrimage we are called to action, attention and participation in continuing the work started by our civil rights leaders. The idea for an interracial, intergenerational civil rights pilgrimage was conceived in the summer of 2013. In these past months and years we have spent time listening, learning and growing together, as the contexts of racial justice have continued to change. The Black Lives Matter movement has emerged through the hard-won lessons and the unfinished business of the civil rights movement. Our deeply divided political environment is a gulf which is widening at an alarming rate. We believe in the power of ‘going together’, of learning our histories, of listening and speaking across our differences.

We go together

Due to the high interest in the civil rights pilgrimages, participation is a selective and intentional process. When seating the bus, we look to include a broad range of folks with these characteristics in mind:

1.      A fundamental desire to study the arc of the Black American freedom struggle
2.      A clear, determined commitment to racial and social justice
3.      A belief in the value of cross-racial relationship-building
4.      Diversity across racial, age, gender, and economic standings

Our experience includes these three key components:

Community Building: We begin our journey with learning and community building. We come together once a week for six weeks to build community across differences and educate each other and ourselves on the history and present reality of injustices in our society. We do this through respectful dialogue, reading and video assignments, meaningful listening, and participatory exercises.

Travel to Impactful Places and Spaces: We travel to the American south where we visit key places in the civil rights movement and spend time with foot soldiers who participated in the movement in a variety of ways. Some of the places we visit include: Birmingham, Montgomery, and Selma, AL; Oxford and Philadelphia, MS; Nashville and Memphis, TN; and visit organizations such as the Highlander Institute and the Equal Justice Initiative. We engage in learning about our living history from people who were on the front lines of the struggle during the civil rights movement as well as those who are leading the movements of today.

We believe in an educational model in which every person in our community has the capacity to teach and to learn. We engage in a series of workshops to help us build cross-racial understanding and trust. These workshops can occur before our pilgrimage, during our pre-pilgrimage meetings, and after our return home. Some of our previous workshops have been conducted at: The Highlander Research and Education Center in New Market, TN; the William Winter Institute at the University of Mississippi; the University of Alabama; and locally facilitated by Dr. Bernard Lafayette – one of the lead organizers with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

Reflection and Integration: This civil rights pilgrimage experience impacts in both expected and surprising ways. As we evolve in this experience it provokes us to examine our cultural systems and where we act, where we disrupt, and how we resist. We are changed. How we see is changedOur journey is only beginning in many ways. When we get home from the traveling part of our pilgrimage, we reflect on and integrate these seismic shifts. Project Pilgrimage hosts post-travel community conversations, individualized mentoring, and facilitative exercises to enrich and support the work of reflection and integration. We contemplate, talk, write and listen. Our final objective is to take action to change our communities after all we have studied, seen and learned.

Our goals are specific:

  • Build an interracial and intergenerational community
  • Study the civil rights movement and the arc of the African American freedom struggle, especially the movement strategies
  • Study the systems of racial inequity
  • Learn from the foot soldiers, lift up the ordinary people who take extraordinary actions to change the systems