5503faba27ec8ab46d365ff2ab859292c76c27d0Last year in my son’s eighth grade social studies class, they discussed the civil rights era but according to him, they were short on time and (as he explained) “kind of rushed through it.”

So when the movie Selma came out last December, depicting the events that led 600 civil rights marchers to cross the Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma, Alabama in 1965, it seemed a ripe opportunity to add to the lesson. Simon and I watched the film together, and it was just a few weeks later when I announced we’d be taking a special trip together — a three-day journey to the deep South to learn more about civil rights.

“A what kind of trip?” Simon asked when I first broke the news we’d be going.

“A civil rights journey,” I answered with extra enthusiasm. “It’ll be really interesting and fun!”

I knew that an education-filled bus trip was hardly the top vacation choice for your average teenager. But I also knew that this type of opportunity — a trip geared toward kids his age, and already including two of his close friends — doesn’t come around every day.

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