Civil Rights Pilgrimage 2019


Apply now for our Fall 2019 Civil Rights Pilgrimage   


Civil Rights Pilgrimages 2019:

We are proud to share our 2019 programming for the Civil Rights Pilgrimages. This year we are focused on what it means to change the narrative. Exploring the racial nuances of our culture, meditating on our personal stories and creating pathways for growth.

We are offering two very different but equally impactful Pilgrimages.


1) Spring 2019 –Civil Rights Pilgrimage; Montgomery to Selma

Deadline extended to March 8th

April 30th – May 5th, 2019 * travel dates

Our 11th Civil Right Pilgrimage will be a 5 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, 40-45 adults (21 or older). *previous Civil Rights Pilgrimage participants are encouraged to apply for this deep dive experience.



2) Fall 2019 – Civil Rights Pilgrimage: changing the narrative through art

Deadline to submit application July 12th, 2019

October 19th – 27th, 2019 *travel dates

Calling all artists: poets, writers, photographers, musicians, dancers, painters and filmmakers. Fall 2019, we are offering a Civil Rights Pilgrimage with you in mind. We begin with you, the story makers, storytellers, and art makers – the narrative shifters and shapers in our culture. 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.

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- 40 adults representing all aspects of the arts: visual, dance, music, writing. 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.



Pilgrimage Dates + Applications:

Spring 2019 – Civil Rights Pilgrimage: Montgomery to Selma

April 30th – May 5th, 2019 *travel dates


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

October 19th – 26th, 2019 *travel dates



We offer a sliding scale cost structure. We ask that you pay what you can afford: $450.00 – $4500.00. Scholarships are available to cover costs and airfare, please inquire for more detail.

This includes all food and lodging during the pilgrimage trip. After the experience we invite people to consider support for the broader community initiative, Project Pilgrimage.

*Airfare to and from the South is not included in the cost. However, scholarships for both airfare and pilgrimage experience are available.


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