Journalism Students Travel to Alabama and Mississippi to Capture Stories of the Civil Rights Movement

November 14, 2019
Eulah Peterson, current mayor of Mound Bayou, Mississippi, shows student Brillian Bao the portraits of Mound Bayou's former mayors.

During fall break, 10 journalism students traveled to sites in Alabama and Mississippi to report original stories for their course, Audio Journalism: The Art of Narrative Storytelling for Radio and Podcasts (JRN 450). They visited Montgomery, Selma, Jackson, and the rural community of Mound Bayou. Known as “the jewel of the Delta,” Mound Bayou is the oldest black township in the country, founded by formerly enslaved men and women just after the end of the Civil War.

The students combined first-person stories, archival recordings, and original research to document untold histories of the Civil Rights Movement. The trip was led by Joe Richman, founder and executive producer of Radio Diaries and current visiting Ferris Professor of Journalism, and Errin Haines Whack, national writer on race and ethnicity for the Associated Press and fellow visiting Ferris Professor of Journalism.

The students maintained a blog, and Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Studies Bryant Blount ’08 h17, who accompanied the group, recorded the trip on Instagram and video. The group’s work will culminate in a 10-story podcast to air at the end of the semester.

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