The Library Goes to New Orleans

 

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Evening reflection by the Mississippi River

Every year, Campus Ministry enables a group of students to go to New Orleans as a part of their Alternative Break Immersion program. While on the trip, the students work with United States Project on rebuilding home and connecting with other organizations work with struggling neighborhoods and communities. This year, the trip incorporated celebrations of the Civil Rights Movement with participating in the Selma Bridge Crossing Jubilee and visiting Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church in Montgomery, AL and the National Civil rights Museum in Memphis, TN.

 

This year, one of the Librarians, Liz Lang, had the opportunity to go on the Alternative Break Immersion at the Librarian in residence. She got to experience the amazing communities in New Orleans along with the students, but also connected the students with Rebecca Crown Library resources while they were away from campus, and the library. A large part of the trip was centered on stories and Liz was able to begin to connect the stories the group was learning about as they interacted with different historic events and the current communities in New Orleans to oral histories that everyone at Dominican University has access to.

HistoryMakers is the largest African American video archive in the world. The goal of this project is to capture the full breadth of African American experience. In preparation for this trip, Liz created this guide with relevant videos for every stage of the trip. While technical difficulties limited how much this resource could be used while on the trip, part of the group was able to listen to stories about the Montgomery Bus Boycott just before stepping onto the Alabama state capitol, where the boycott ended. In future trips, these videos could be played during the nightly reflections to add context to the real life stories that the students interact with daily on this trip.

 

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John Deconstanza talking about the significance of where the students were standing

Students experience a lot on this trip, much of which take a significant emotional toll on the students. It is the library’s hope, that we can continue to provide informational support that will help students make sense of all of these experiences and emotions.

 

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