-- Led by Rabbi Moshe Shur, 18 Ethnically and Religiously Diverse Students Will Visit Atlanta, Selma, Montgomery and Birmingham and Meet with Leaders of Early Civil Rights Struggle --
FLUSHING, NY, January 11, 2017—When Rabbi Moshe Shur was in college, he joined other student volunteers in a 1965 and 1966 summer initiative to register disenfranchised voters in six Southern states. As president of the student participants in this national project begun by Rev. Martin Luther King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Shur met Dr. King who, he says, “brought us a vision of social justice for all Americans.”
Martin Luther King Day is a milestone in history for today’s students, but for Shur, it is a living memory that “branded” him and molded his future. Now an adjunct professor at Queens College of the City University of New York and the retired campus director of Hillel, Shur is attempting to bridge that generational disconnect by deepening students’ understanding of that era in a very personal way. The annual Queens College project, “In the Footsteps of Dr. King,” will bring him and 18 QC students to Atlanta, Georgia, and Montgomery, Selma, and Birmingham, Alabama, during January 15-19, 2017. The students—Muslim, Christian, Jewish; African-American, Hispanic, and Asian; native-born Americans and immigrants—reflect the population of one of the most ethnically diverse colleges in the United States. It is the third time Shur will be leading students for the project; he traveled south with 18 students on the inaugural trip in January 2015.
The students will visit museums, memorials and historically important sites; participate in a Martin Luther King Day march in Atlanta; and—in a new item on the “Footsteps” itinerary—retrace King’s walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, where armed police officers attacked peaceful protesters. Students will also meet with people who played an active role in the civil rights struggle, including Barbara Emerson Williams, daughter of Rev. Hosea Williams (Dr. King’s assistant), whose family foundation established Hosea Feed the Hungry in Atlanta. Throughout the trip, students will be using video, photography and writing to record their experiences, which they will share in a campus-wide presentation this spring semester.
Queens College has a long association with the civil rights movement and has a renowned civil rights archive: http://archives.qc.cuny.edu/civilrights/. The White House awarded the Medal of Freedom posthumously to QC student Andrew Goodman, who was murdered with James Chaney and Michael Schwerner on June 21, 1964, in Mississippi for their voter-registration work. The college’s clock tower is named in their honor.
“In the Footsteps of Dr. King” is sponsored by the Queens College Student Association, Office of the President, Division of Student Affairs, the Office of Student Devlopment and Leadership, the Taub Family Foundation, and New York City Council Member Rory Lancman.
This project is dedicated to the memory and vision of David S. Taub.