seal  Purdue News

October 1, 2003

BCC performing arts ensembles to tour civil rights sites in Alabama

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Approximately 25 Purdue University students who participate in the Black Cultural Center's performing arts ensembles will retrace the steps of Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders during an upcoming tour of Birmingham and Montgomery, Ala.

The tour runs from Friday, Oct. 10, to Tuesday, Oct. 14. Students will visit the Civil Rights Institute, the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, Kelly Ingram Park, the Civil Rights Memorial and the Rosa Parks Museum. Students also will interview civil rights movement participants.

In addition, the students will take part in a master class in dance, drama, creative writing and choral music, which will be instructed by professional artists form the Birmingham area. The Black Voices of Inspiration will receive personal instruction from Kevin Turner, the director of the University of Alabama Gospel Choir who also served as the vocal coach of "American Idol" show winner Ruben Studdard.

Renee Thomas, Black Cultural Center director, said the trip should be a memorable experience for the students, who will conduct research about each site.

"Students will gain an understanding of Birmingham and appreciate its impact in shaping the direction of civil and human rights for all people," Thomas said. "A riveting moment will be when the students walk through Kelly Ingram Park. On these grounds, many young people had the skin ripped from their bodies, suffered painful and dehumanizing attacks from police dogs and were brutally beaten before being dragged off to jail."

Following the tour, the students will dramatize what they learn about civil rights and the Black Arts Movement at the BCC Performing Arts Ensemble Showcase. The showcase will be performed at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25, at the Black Cultural Center. Admission is free.

Writer: Marydell Forbes, (765) 496-7704,

Source: Renee Thomas, (765) 494-3091,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Note to Journalists: Journal entries from the students and photos of civil rights movement related sites will be available. To make arrangements, contact BCC director Renee Thomas at (765) 494-3091,

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