MLK Immersion Travel Day: Minneapolis to Memphis

By Alec Zadra

A group of students huddle in a circle in the midst of a crowded Charlotte Douglas International Airport. This is just the beginning of their journey over spring break to learn more about civil rights history and present through the University of Minnesota’s Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. program’s immersion trip.

MLK student at the airport
Six of the students going on the trip played cards to kill time between flights

This trip takes 15 students across three states in the southeast United States, learning from the sites and stories of the Black freedom movement and those involved.

Their first stop? Memphis, Tennessee, home of the National Civil Rights Museum, I Am a Man Plaza and Clayton Temple.

But before experiencing the monuments in Memphis, the students and faculty involved in the trip first need to make it down to Memphis. This involves a 4:15 am meeting at the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport Saturday morning.

Although groggy and tired, the class boarded its first flight from Minneapolis to Charlotte, North Carolina. While waiting two and a half hours for their next flight to depart to Memphis, students and faculty pass the time by playing card games, conversing with one another and treating themselves to the various snacks available at the terminal.

View of approach to Memphis from airplane
The view as the immersion trip’s flight nears Memphis

The flight, which departed at 1:31 pm., lasted only around half the length of the layover, delivering the immersion trip members to Memphis at 2:49 pm.

While the day didn’t involve any historical places or people, there was still learning and bonding to be had.

Whether it be people conversing next to one another on the plane, killing time with card games or ending the day with a dinner at Cracker Barrel, the preliminary travel of these scholars will not only help to build their community on this trip, but to build the foundation of their learning as well.

MLK 3000 students at Cracker Barrel
MLK 3000 students eating at Cracker Barrel
MLK 3000 students at Cracker Barrel
MLK 3000 students eating at Cracker Barrel

By Alec Zadra

This article is one in a documentary series about the MLK 3000 Immersion Experience.
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Program in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities provides educational programming that fosters students' engagement with and understanding of the complex issues of power, privilege, and social justice. To learn more about the program, visit the MLK Program's about page. Students interested in taking the MLK 3000 Immersive Experience course in a future year can email
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