Civil Rights Pilgrimage

Birmingham-Selma-Montgomery, AL

If you are interested in participating in a future Civil Rights Pilgrimage, please e-mail Below is a sample of what a pilgrimage agenda might look like, but one could be personalized to meet your groups needs.


With Hosts:

Clara Ester

Chair of National Association of Deaconesses UMC, Social Welfare and Justice Civil Rights Activist fueled by her early relationship with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Diana Cason

Experienced Civil Rights Pilgrimage Organizer,Initiator, Connector, Life-long Learner, Beloved Child of God.

Claire Cox-Woodlief

Spiritual Director, Retreat Leader, Event Planner, Lay Speaker, Conflict Transformation Minister, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Cultural Humility Encourager


Published co-author and a race equity educator and facilitator for both individuals and organizations. 

Who?  This pilgrimage is for anyone who would like to learn more about the people and places of significance from the Civil Rights movement.

Why? It is important to remember the people and events of our history.  Visiting these historical places and reengaging with the stories can be transformative. While we cannot change the past, we can learn from it.  Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke often of beloved community as a way of transforming people and relationships; creating communities grounded in reconciliation, friendship and human dignity.  The Beloved Community was not meant to be a vision of heaven in the clouds, but a practical possibility humanity could create-on earth.

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.” 

Ephesians 2: 14-16

We cannot move forward towards racial healing without learning a more complete history and acknowledging how some have benefitted from systems at the expense of others.  This pilgrimage will be one step in a journey towards reconciliation.

The Civil Rights Pilgrimage opened my eyes and heart in ways that rendered me speechless, yet forced me to speak. I had thought and thought, read and researched about inequality and racism; but I had not allowed the reality inside me. I had not taken a look with my soul. Several brave, articulate, and generous guides shared their personal and family stories. Their courage and faithfulness were inspirational, modern-day examples of living like Christ. LOVING and speaking against the callous and casual acceptance of audacious atrocities; atrocities hidden, shameful and not acknowledged, many of which continue today. The Pilgrimage gave me a foundation of understanding that it’s the depth of the wound, and not the color of my skin, that separates us. Before this experience, it was mostly head knowledge.


Christa Midkiff


The Civil Rights Pilgrimage in Montgomery and Selma, Alabama brought to me a profound understanding of the depth and the insidious nature of the oppression of our Black brothers and sisters.  The nature of the experience also clearly revealed that I have much to learn from the wisdom and resilience of this community. As a result, it deepened in me the sense of obligation to understand the impact of racism and do my part to dismantle it.  I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Anna Martinez



Our experience will be enhanced by pre-study materials and virtual discussion sessions in advance of the pilgrimage. These sessions will serve to prepare us and build community before our arrival in Alabama.

Our time in Birmingham will include visiting 16th Street Baptist Church—the sight of the 1963 bombing that killed four young girls; Kelly Ingram Park which was the staging ground for the demonstrations that were met with firehoses and police dogs turned onto civil rights demonstrators, many of whom were children; and seeing Rev. Fred Shuttleworth’s Historic Bethel Baptist Church.

In Selma, we will walk across the historical Edmund Pettus Bridge and visit the adjacent park.  In addition, we will see Brown Chapel AME Church (currently closed for restoration), and visit the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute. We will travel the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail to the State Capitol with a stop to visit the Lowndes County Interpretive Center located at the “Tent City” site along the way.

In Montgomery, we will experience the powerful Equal Justice Initiative’s Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice. In addition, we will see many historical sites including the Riverwalk, Rosa Parks Museum, Freedom Rides Museum, Civil Rights Memorial, Richard Harris’ Home, Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church and the parsonage that was bombed.

In each city we will be taught by experienced local guides. Throughout our pilgrimage, we will worship, pray, and spend time in individual and group reflection.

Cost:  TBD based on group size.