July 27, 2007

Upward Bound students to tour historic sites

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. – The chance to experience intriguing elements of American history and tour several historic colleges await participants in the Southern Illinois University Carbondale Project Upward Bound summer program.

About 45 high school students from Carbondale, Marion, Murphysboro, Mounds, Tamms, Cairo and Ullin will visit Jackson and Memphis, Tenn., July 30-Aug. 1. The trip culminates a six-week residential program designed to improve and enrich academic competency to prepare students for the college experience.

"This trip gives the youth an opportunity to witness and understand important history visiting the National Civil Rights Museum and the Casey Jones Museum and they're able to visit different colleges too," said K. Donnell Wilson, Upward Bound project director.

The teens will tour the National Civil Rights Museum, located in Memphis' Lorraine Motel, site of the 1968 assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King. The award-winning, recently expanded museum now houses the Young Morrow building and the Main Street Rooming House, from where the fatal shot originated. Hands-on exhibits and interactive displays and artifacts highlight the American Civil Rights Movement and its champions.

Trip participants will tour the museum honoring America's most renowned railroad engineer, killed in a turn-of-the-century train crash with one hand on the brake and the other blowing the train's whistle in warning, at Casey Jones Village in Jackson. There they'll also enjoy an old-fashioned country store and other sights. Tours of Union University and Lane College in Jackson, as well as Lemoyne-Owen College in Memphis, provide a glimpse of private universities that have educated students for many years, with Union University dating to 1823. There's a trip to the mall, a dance and leisure time too.

Project Upward Bound is a federally funded educational assistance program at SIUC.