University of Missouri-St. Louis sophomore Lucy Grimshaw grew up learning about Martin Luther King Jr. and the fraught times that shaped his life and death. But none of those lessons stuck with her quite like what she experienced last spring while touring places associated with key events of the civil rights movement.
As she visited sites such as Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church, where four young girls were killed in a racist bombing, and Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge, where law enforcement officers brutally attacked black protesters on a day later known as Bloody Sunday, Grimshaw and fellow UMSL students reflected each evening on what they were seeing and learning.
They did so under the guidance of UMSL School of Social Work faculty members Courtney McDermott and Sha-Lai Williams, who co-taught the trip as part of a Pierre Laclede Honors College course offered to students coming from various academic and ethnic backgrounds.
The course proved popular, as well as life-changing, according to student feedback. This spring, the two professors are offering the trip once more. And Grimshaw, who is a public policy and social work major, is herself going again, even though this time it won’t be for credit.
During Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, in light of the observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, host Sarah Fenske talked with Grimshaw, McDermott and Williams about how the UMSL tour has influenced their perspective on the civil rights movement — and the connections they see to St. Louis events and issues, both past and present.
Listen to the discussion:
“St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. The engineer is Aaron Doerr, and production assistance is provided by Charlie McDonald.
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