We on the Planning Team are delighted that all of you will be with us on the Pilgrimage, November 12-19, 2016. Our trip is less than a month away, and we want to provide you with some information as you prepare for a great experience. This email contains a lot of information. Please read it carefully. We will be sending another email two weeks before the trip with specific reminders and any additional information we think is important for you to have.
This Pilgrimage is much more than a Civil Rights history tour. It is truly a spiritual as well as physical pilgrimage. We recommend that you plan, in so far as possible, to set aside or leave behind your many electronic and other ties to “business as usual” at home, so you can concentrate on being fully present to the unique experiences of the week. Put an “Out of Office” message on your email; change your voice mail message; ask your family and friends to not text you unless it’s urgent. These things all help to free you up to stay present to the experience.
We hope the following information will help in your preparation over these next weeks.
By air - Those who are flying in may take the Holiday Inn's free shuttle. Call the hotel at 901-332-1130.
By car - If you are driving to Memphis, you will be able to leave your car in the Holiday Inn's parking lot without charge for the duration of the Pilgrimage. Speak with the front desk clerk to arrange for this.
Arriving in Memphis
We look forward to welcoming all of you to this Pilgrimage to explore our living legacy! On Saturday afternoon, the Pilgrimage program begins at the Holiday Inn with a 3:00 pm registration and orientation session followed by a celebratory dinner. The evening program will be over early enough for those who are interested in checking out the Beale Street entertainment district, but don’t stay out too late – we have church in the morning!
Leaving for home at the end of the Pilgrimage
Our final day, Saturday, Nov 19, begins at a hotel in Batesville, MS. It will be primarily a "how we take this back home" day. We’ll be sharing our responses to the Pilgrimage in words and song during our final morning together. We will board our bus at 11:15 am for the approximate 1-hour trip back to Memphis.
Important: If you plan to fly home on Saturday, Nov 19, do not schedule any flight from the Memphis Airport before 2:00 pm on Saturday to be on the safe side. For those of you who have a Saturday flight scheduled, the bus will drop you at the airport as we arrive back into town.
Arriving early or staying over
If you plan to arrive in Memphis before Saturday night, Nov 12, or if you plan to stay over on Saturday, Nov 19, contact the Holiday Inn Memphis Airport (901-332-1130) and tell them you are with the Living Legacy Pilgrimage to get the negotiated rate. You will be responsible to pay for extra night or nights.
On the road
Our charter bus has 56 seats, an on-board bathroom and overhead storage. Several seats in front and back will be reserved for use by the leadership and for supplies. There will be about 30 of us traveling together, so we will have a little room to stretch out for those who need some quiet space. We encourage you, though, to sit with different people throughout the trip, so you have an opportunity to get to know them. During some segments of our journey, programming and DVDs will be offered. There will be light snacks, water and non-carbonated drinks available at all times.
The route map and preliminary schedule are available for your review on our website: 2016 LLP Itinerary and Map. It is subject to some minor changes but will give you a good idea of what to expect.
Fall in the South can range in temperature from mid-50s to low-80s depending on the area. There may also be rain showers. Please check the 14-day forecast for our destination cities to help predict what to expect. Pack sufficient travel stuff for duration of the trip. We are not likely to have access to washing machines. Here’s some suggestions of what clothes to pack:
Comfortable walking shoes (at least one pair with closed toes)
Raincoat or rain jacket, umbrella for rain; sun hat and sunscreen
Sweater or jacket
Short-sleeved and long-sleeved tops (options for layering)
Slacks, skirts, shorts, etc. Neat casual is fine
One good church outfit for Sunday morning. We'll be attending an African American church where the normal dress is typically more formal than many UU congregations. We would suggest that you dress as you would for a special Sunday or a professional job interview
"What else should I bring?"
Here are some suggestions of things you might bring:
Insect repellent and skin ointment for those prone to bites
Any special non-perishable food items you might want or need along the way
Journal and pens
The UU Living Legacy Pilgrimage is covering all group meals including gratuities, all room bills -- including tax, all entrance fees for museums, honoraria for our speakers, and contributions on behalf of the group at the churches and other "donation-based" locations. If you want to make an additional donation at any site, you are welcome to do so.
Please bring extra money for the following, as you are able:
Gratuity for our driver who will be working hard to make our trip comfortable (at least $5 or more per day -- $40+ per traveler, cash only please)
Gratuities for hotel housekeeping staff (cash - $3.00 per day -- $24+ is recommended).
Offering plate at Sunday worship service (cash or check)
Personal foods, particularly if you have special dietary preferences or restrictions; drinks, snacks (note that we will make at least one shopping stop)
Incidental hotel expenses such as on-demand TV in your room (payable directly to the hotel)
Souvenirs and/or books from presenters, museum gift shops, etc.
Several of you indicated special food preferences or sensitivities, and we are working with vendors to accommodate as many of those needs as possible. We are arranging with restaurants, delis, and host churches to provide a range of choices. Along the way, we will be asking you to place orders for some meals, others will be buffet style.
Note that in the South, vegetables are often cooked with meat or animal fat so, be aware of that, if you're vegetarian or vegan. We are requesting that at least one vegan-friendly option be made available at each meal. We will try to let you know about special menu choices ahead of time, and those with dietary restrictions will lead our buffet lines. Also, we will be making stops on occasion for folks to pick up snacks, drinks or other personal food alternatives.
Note: If you do not answer indicate your preferences by the end of the day October 31, we will place an order for you. Thanks for your help with this.
Accommodations and Luggage
We will be staying in hotels that are clean, modest, and comfortable. Most will be Holiday Inns or Holiday Inn Express. There is plenty of baggage storage in the bus, but do keep in mind that we are each expected to haul our own luggage from the bus to the hotel room at each and every stop. Please let us know if you expect any difficulties with carrying your luggage so that we can try to make special arrangements for you.
Nametags and Folders
Each participant will receive a name tag -- we ask that you wear it throughout the journey. These are helpful reminders for everyone involved with our trip, both within and outside our group.
Each participant will receive a folder of materials that we will be using daily. It will include a copy of the daily schedule, a list of participants, a Civil Rights time-line and a map of our route, along with other important resources. Many more books and resources will be noted, some of which are available online.
Documenting the Experience
Still Cameras, Video Cameras and Audio Recorders
No question, these items are helpful in recording our shared experiences. Yet, we must be mindful of the requirements of common courtesy. We request that each participant wait until permission has been requested and given before recording or photographing people and locations that we visit.
We would appreciate it if you would share your photos with us. Annette Marquis will be taking photos and will be collecting others’ throughout the trip. We will make them available to everyone who would like them.
Blogging and Social Media
We invite any of you to write guest blogs about your experiences for our Living Legacy Pilgrimage blog. Talk with Annette Marquis (email@example.com) if you are interested in doing this during or after the Pilgrimage.
If you are a Facebooker, post away, but please don't post photos of others (except large group shots) on the Pilgrimage without their permission. If you tweet or post to Facebook, please use the hashtag #llp16 so we can find all your posts.
Our website, www.uulivinglegacy.org, gives you a map and listing of Pilgrimage stops (see Route), and offers a large number of resources (see Resources) covering both history and current developments in civil rights areas relevant to the stops. We hope you have already begun some advance reading. Here are some suggestions for books and films to review that will make the journey much more meaningful.
To link the sites on our tour with the history, we recommend that you purchase a copy of Weary Feet, Rested Souls by Townsend Davis to carry with you on the journey. It’s available from Amazon in print and Kindle editions, or you can order it, and any of the following books from your favorite independent bookstore.
For a general look at the historic Movement, we suggest two books that are especially well written:
The Children, by David Halberstam – Tells the stories of the young people in Nashville who formed the core of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and what they have done with their lives since the Movement days.
Especially for Unitarian Universalists, we highly recommend reading Mark Morrison Reed’s book: The Selma Awakening: How the Civil Rights Movement Tested and Changed Unitarian Universalism. It’s available from the UUA Bookstore and from Amazon (including Kindle edition). According to the UUA Bookstore, “With rigorous scholarship and unflinching frankness, The Selma Awakening provides a new way of understanding Unitarian Universalist engagement with race and offers an indispensable new resource for anyone interested in UU history.”
We also highly recommend Southern Witness, a book by a founding member of the Living Legacy Project, the Rev. Gordon Gibson. At last, here is the largely untold history of Unitarian and Universalist involvement in the civil rights movement in the South. Covering congregations in nearly thirty cities and towns and spanning ten Southern states, this extensive study sheds new light on the often heroic efforts of laypeople and clergy in confronting segregation. Gordon witnessed some of this history firsthand, as the only UU minister in Mississippi between 1969 and 1984, and was, with his wife Judy, the first to bring UUs on civil rights journey’s to the South.
To further your anti-racism development, we also recommend reading:
Several films (available as video, DVD or both) are well worth watching on your own. We will be using some of them as visual materials on the bus, but will not have the time to include all segments of these excellent resources:
Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years 1954-1965 by Henry Hampton - (available now in a 3 DVD set). We will view the Selma and Mississippi segments on the bus, but all sections are well worth watching ahead of time.
Home of the Brave – the case of Viola Liuzzo, who was killed on the road between Selma and Montgomery following the famous march.
The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till, by Keith Beauchamp – covers the murder and aftermath of 14 year-old Emmett Till in Money, Mississippi in 1955.
This is just a start, and there are many new resources coming out every year. Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org if you find other excellent materials that we should list on the website.
There are an increasing number of other titles, including such subjects as civil rights history, anti-racism, anti-oppression, multiculturalism and identity issues. We encourage you to explore the Resource section on the LLP website for other materials that you might want to check out prior to the Pilgrimage.
That's all for now. Questions? Feel free to contact us at email@example.com.
See you in Memphis!
Living Legacy Pilgrimage Planning Committee
The Reverend James A. Hobart