ACU Honors students experience the American South

Posted June 21, 2010

America South After returning from its America South trip, students from ACU's Honors College brought back more memories than their cameras could hold. The excitement of Atlanta Braves' games, museum tours and plantation explorations were simply a snapshot of what the group experienced.

The students left May 16 for Georgia and South Carolina, where they studied Social Protest and the Civil Rights Movement. They visited legendary venues such as the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr., the Center for Nonviolence and Boone Hall Plantation.

Their most memorable moments, however, came during a side trip to South Carolina's St.
Helena Island. There, students learned about the significant role of the island – once one of the oldest slave colonies in America – during the Civil Rights Movement. They also met Queen Quet of the Gullah/Geechee Nation.

The Gullah/Geechee is a sovereign, African-American nation which has maintained its culture and heritage since the slave movement. Comprised of several African cultures,its boundaries stretch along the Atlantic coast Sea Islands and Low country from Jacksonville, N.C., to Jacksonville, Fla. Modern-day residents of the area also are known for speaking a native language called Geechee, an amalgamation of Creole and other African languages.

Dr. Tanya Brice, associate professor of social work, says Queen Quet actively works with the United Nations and recently returned from a meeting in Washington D.C.,with President Barack Obama.

Dr. Kristina Campos, assistant professor of communication and honors studies, says Queen Quet took time to answers many of her students' questions.

"There was no rush," says Campos. "She was wholly and completely with us."

They learned that because of the Gullah nation, St. Helena served as an "underground railroad" for slaves. It also was a place where Martin Luther King Jr., came to reflect and pray.

"It was like King's second home," Brice says.

Jared Perkins, junior political science major from Peru, Ill.,enjoyed visiting Charleston and meeting Queen Quet and the Gullah/Geechee people. Perkins says he learned that culture and stereotyping do not mix.

"Before going on the trip, I always thought different cultures acted a certain way,” he says. "But when we got the chance to meet and talk with people, it eliminated all of my stereotypes."

Perkins also enjoyed learning and spending time with his classmates. After exploring South Carolina, the group returned May 30 to Abilene.

To read more and see pictures of the trip, visit the ACU Honors College Facebook page.


Did you know? COBA in Oxford students are exploring how iPads can be used for research while they consult for marketing firm A.C. Nielsen this summer. Follow their findings by becoming a fan of their Facebook page.