Apr 19, 2024

Fellow Cyclists, Civil Rights Enthusiasts Return from March Trip

Exploration of Civil Rights Sites Inspires Social Justice Team

A group of four members from St. Lucas UCC, Sunset Hills, Mo. participated in a weeklong exploration of civil rights sites (in Selma, Ala.; Montgomery, Ala.; Birmingham, Ala.; and Memphis, Tenn.), including three of them riding in the Selma to Montgmery Race March 16.

They were part of a group of 800 bikers and runners. Starting in Selma and ending in Montgomery at the state capitol, the annual 51-mile relay and bike ride commemorates the 1965 march led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Comprised of (left to right in photo) Paul Litzsinger, Adam Rustige, Donovan Larson, and Bill Biedenstein, the group learned of the ride from St. Louis cyclists who rode it in past years, which prompted them to plan the trip for the better part of the week from March 15-21.

“We must never forget the price that a courageous few paid to guarantee the right to vote for all Americans, whatever their race, color, or creed,” says Biedenstein about their experience and reason for going as members of the church’s Social Justice Team. He said they all agreed that “it was a great trip with much learned.”

Much Learned from Sites Visited

They visited the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where Dr. King and others started their march to help pass national voting rights legislation helping Blacks to register to vote. The bridge is the location of what came to be called Bloody Sunday because of the brutal beatings of civil rights marchers during their first march for voting rights.

Additional Civil Rights museums and historical sites visited were:

  • Troy University’s Rosa Parks Museum, Montgomery
  • Legacy Museum in Montgomery
  • Birmingham’s Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, where four young African-American girls were killed by a bomb set by the Ku Klux Klan
  • Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
  • National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel where Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis
Plans for Next Year Underway

The group is already planning to sponsor a similar week-long trip next year, which may or may not include the commemorative ride.

“The biking part was fun, but really it is about re-living our neglected history,” explains Biedenstein.

He says the group will promote the trip as a Civil Rights experience in the Deep South with the main hope that other churches will want to participate.

If members of your church are interested, email Biedenstein.
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