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Washington, DC High School Students Explore Mississippi to Learn About Civil Rights Movement
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Students Leaving Nazareth MB Church headed to the MS Museum of Art
Desare Frazier

"We started off in New York for about a week visiting Harlem, Brooklyn," said Wynne.

Seventeen-year old Carter Wynne is one of twenty-four high school students on a three-and-a-half week trek to learn about the Civil Rights Movement, as well as Jewish and African American culture. The program is offered by Operation Understanding in Washington, DC. Twelve Jewish and twelve African Americans students from DC area high schools participate in the one-year program. Avi Edelman is the program director.

"The purpose is to build a generation of leaders that are working to eradicate racism, anti-semitism and all forms of discrimination," said Edelman.

The trip loosely follows the 1961 Freedom Riders' route to desegregate buses. From New York they travel to the Carolinas, Alabama, Georgia and now they're in Mississippi. The group is visiting sites, such as Medgar Evers' home, the Institute for Southern Jewish Life and Tougaloo College. They also met Civil Rights Activist Hollis Watkins and former Governor William Winter. Caleb O'Brien is Jewish and 17. 

"It's not real until you come and see it and experience it, and you meet with these people who gave their lives to do these things and it's been incredible," said O'Brien.

Carter Wynne who is African American, talks about what she's learned.

"Using the N-word, expressing stereotypes surrounding Black people and even Jewish people that need to be eradicated. I think having the knowledge that I got on this trip and in the whole year-long program is going to really help me do that and that's my personal goal," said Wynne. 

The students leave today for Tennessee, the last state on their civil rights tour.