Black History in America: Opening Hearts & Minds

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8 days
Availability : June 26, 2020 - July 3, 2020
Montgomery, Alabama
New Orleans, Louisana

This past year has been significant in so many ways.  One important opportunity that has surfaced is to consider more deeply the stories of black Americans in our country.  In so doing, we can expand our hearts and minds, allowing each of us to grapple with and integrate those stories into our own.  This deeper understanding enriches what we have already learned about our history and country.  Explore challenging subjects like slavery, the civil rights movement, mass incarceration, and institutionalized racism, thereby equipping us to face the current calls for mercy and change. 


San Luis Obispo Classical Academy will be traveling to the South for a trip to learn and understand Black History in America:  Expanding our Hearts & Minds.  Join us June 26-July 3, 2021.  Details about the trip below. Registration is now OPEN!

If you are interested please send us an email:

Tour Details

Due to the current COVID context, it is impossible to know exactly what will be open, what hours they will be open, what the group size limitations will be and more.  We’ve all become accustomed to this level of flexibility and we’ll continue in this frame of mind on the trip.  We’ll make our best efforts to stick to the itinerary as prepared, but flexibility will reign supreme and we’ll make fair and educationally valuable changes when and if necessary. 


Price: $2010 Adult. $1960 Student

Based on a minimum of 20 travelers and a maximum of 30 travelers (plus trip leaders)

Price based on 3 people sharing a room;  Quadruple occupancy discount of $80 per person;  Double occupancy surcharge of $165 per person

This trip is ideal for students in lower middle school through high school, but at parental discretion, it could also be appropriate for mature learners in intermediate.

This is a family trip and students should travel either with a parent (or both) or under the supervision of a family friend.  We will not be providing chaperone services.

Cancellation Policy:  Travelers may cancel up until 35 days before travel with 0% penalty

Cancellations made between 15-34 days before the trip will result in a 50% penalty

Cancellations made between days 1-14 days before trip will not be available for any refund.  Be certain that you have trip cancellation insurance that covers cancellation due to COVID related reasons.


Departure Location

Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown, Montgomery, Alabama.

Day 1Saturday, June 26: Montgomery, Alabama (2 nights)

Fly on your own into Montgomery, Alabama and meet at Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown

6:00 Welcome Dinner & Group Introductions

Day 2Sunday, June 27: Montgomery, Alabama

Montgomery serves as not only one of the most important towns in the Civil Rights Movement, it also is the present home of one of the most influential shakers and movers, The Equal Justice Initiative.  Read about this organization, spearheaded by founder Bryan Stevenson.  While their main mission is to provide legal representation to those incarcerated unjustly, this organization has also built the National Memorial for Peace & Justice and The Legacy Museum, making strides to open and change the hearts and minds of those who reach out to learn and understand.  We’ll spend the morning in these two locations and spend the afternoon on a general tour of some other important landmark sites in the Civil Rights movement.  It was Montgomery that served as the destination in the long march along Highway 80 the route taken by thousands of protesters of all ages during the 5 day March for the Vote from Selma the Alabama State capitol.  It was Montgomery that was home to the bus boycott, initiated by that defiant refusal by Rosa Parks.  It was Montgomery that was home to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s church on Dexter Avenue.  And, it was also Montgomery that served as the home to the White House of the Confederacy where the orders were given to start the Civil War.  We’ll walk and see and learn, while being led by Mr. Leon Burnette, our tour director for the week.  Mr. Burnette is a native of Los Angeles, but has lived for many years in Huntsville, Alabama.  He is a Diversity and Civil Rights Activist, Tour Director, Educator, Author, Event Producer and Youth Mentor.

Day 3Monday, June 28: Selma en route to Birmingham, Alabama (1 night)

Today we’ll retrace (in reverse) that 54-mile stretch of highway from Selma, Alabama to the state capital in Montgomery.  Three protest marches were held here in 1965 in a coordinated effort to change the voting laws and end segregation.  We’ll stop in at Lowndes Interpretive Center on the way, site of Tent City and a major camp ground during the 5 day march.  Once in Selma, we have a real treat, as we’ll be joined by Joanne Bland, a life long Civil Rights activist and speaker. Ms Bland will give us a first-hand personal account of Selma’s involvement in the Voting Rights Struggle. She was born and raised in Selma.  She became a participant at eight when she was arrested for the first time along with her grandmother as she attempted to register to vote. By the time she was 11 years old, she had been arrested 13 times.  She was an active participant in Bloody Sunday, marching alongside 600 or more only to get brutally beaten, tear gassed and hit by policemen on horses with billy clubs. Her early involvement in the struggle against  “Jim Crow”, the American apartheid, has been the foundation and fuel for her civil and human rights work.  Ms Bland will share her experiences, feeling and memories of growing up in segregated Jim Crow Selma in the 1950 and 60s and Mr. Leon will lead us on a walk across the Edmond Pettus Bridge.  We will leave Selma and travel through Alabama’s Black Belt to Birmingham where we will spend the afternoon touring The Birmingham Civil Rights Historical District which includes Kelly Ingram Park the Site of the Children’s March. It was in this park that students were attacked by racist police with high powered water hoses and vicious dogs as they tried to peacefully march in protest against segregation while the whole world watched in horror.  We will also visit the 16th Street Baptist Church the site of the horrific church bombing where 4 little girls were killed by the KKK. Both of these events helped to ensure the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Birmingham stands as a testament to change through the efforts of coordinated protest and dedicated women and children.

Light buffet dinner at the hotel tonight.

Day 4Tuesday, June 29: Memphis, TN (1 night)

Tuesday we’ll head for Memphis, Tennessee.  We’ll spend some time there, again, with Mr. Leon Burnette at the helm.  Memphis is known for music – soul music, funk music, jazz music and more and we’ll visit Stax Museum to learn all about it!    The evening is free (dinner is not included) so you’ll have an opportunity to wander down Beale Street, perhaps stopping in at B.B. King’s Blues Club for some awesome music!

Day 6Thursday, July 1: New Orleans, Louisiana (2 nights)

The precursor to the Civil Rights Movement was the European slave trade and the massive industries and fortunes that were made from this labor.  We will spend the afternoon at a plantation that specifically focuses on the stories of the lives of the enslaved people who lived on and worked not only on this plantation, but also the thousands of enslaved people who lived in Louisiana. 

Day 7Friday, July 2: New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans –  There is so much to see, so much history, and the city is rich with black culture, both historically and in the present day!  We’ll do an overview on a morning museum tour and a visit to a cultural center.  

This has been a full week where we learned so much and faced some painful stories as well as some inspirational ones. Hopefully we are able to see from a different perspective, our hearts and minds full, and certainly we are transformed in profound ways. 

This afternoon, you have free time and space to perhaps dive into a subject you want to know more about, or maybe you just need to wander and process.  

If you decide to go exploring on your own, we’ll meet in the evening for a celebratory last evening in New Orleans.  We’ll eat together and enjoy the festive atmosphere of New Orleans on the 4th of July weekend.  We’ll go for a ride on the street car,  find live music and street entertainers, and enjoy our last evening together!

Day 1Saturday, July 3: New Orleans, Louisiana

Fly home


Arrival Time

6:00pm Welcome Dinner & Group Introductions

Return Location

New Orleans, Louisana.

Price Includes

  • 7 nights in moderate to budget hotels
  • Breakfast
  • Dinners except for free night in Memphis
  • Transportation on a private charter coach
  • All entrance fees to sites included on the itinerary
  • Gratuities to guides and bus driver
  • Civil Rights Activist and tour guide teaching and guiding on each day
  • Dinner Dance Cruise on the Mississippi River
  • Trip Guidebook
  • Scavanger Hunts, Review Questions and Supporting Materials
  • Prizes Daily
  • Trip T-Shirt

Price Excludes

  • Flight
  • Airport Transfers
  • Trip Insurance
  • Lunches Daily
  • Dinner mid-week in Memphis
  • Personal purchases (laundry, souvenirs, snacks, etc)
COVID Protection Policy
  1. All travelers should either have proof of vaccination OR present results of a negative antigen test administered within 72 hours of the first day of the group trip: June 26
  2. Temperature checks will be administered and we’ll dispense hand sanitizer as we load onto the bus each morning.
  3. Masks must be worn while on the bus or in any inside area or outside if standing within six feet of other people.

2 Reviews
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Julie Smith

Group Traveller

“Our family attended the Europe Through the Ages trip with Cindy this past summer. This is the second trip we joined Cindy on so we knew we were going to be so well taken care of and that the trip would surpas all expectations. Planning a trip through Europe is daunting and overwhelming and Cindy takes care of ALL of the details, even telling you what to pack and how to pack. She is exceptional in her planning and execution and it is really quite remarkable to be a part of. Our tours were thoughtfully planned and always led by a highly knowledgeable docent. We seamlessly traveled from one incredible experience to the next, covering 4 countries in all. My family and I would follow Cindy anywhere. Thank you Cindy for discovering your true gift and sharing it.”

February 6, 2020

Jennifer Wright

Group Traveller

My experience traveling throughout Europe with Cindy and the families at SLO Classical Academy was truly a lifetime highlight for me. The itinerary, accommodations, transportation, local guides, and unique experiences were thoughtfully planned and organized. Cindy is a calm, kind, resourceful leader who created experiences both adults and children could enjoy, and our educational tours connected perfectly with SLOCA’s classical approach and curriculum. We experienced everything from spending a night in a castle to seeing a Shakespeare production at the Globe Theater to a river cruise along the Seine in Paris, a cooking class at a villa in Florence, and plate smashing and Greek dancing in Athens, along with a plethora of museums and walking tours with local expert guides. What I appreciated and loved most was the opportunity for families to experience Europe together while connecting with other families, creating new friendships and a wonderful sense of community. I highly recommend going on all of Cindy’s trips because it truly will be life-changing and like no other trip you will ever experience. If you love to learn about our world then trust Cindy to create a once in a lifetime experience for you and your family.

August 20, 2019
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