East Texans on chartered bus to Selma. (Source: KLTV Staff)
TJC student, Sir Isaac Nelson, said trip to Selma was unforgettable. (Source: KLTV Staff)
Thousands gathered in Selma for the 50th year march anniversary. (Source: KLTV Staff)
EAST TEXAS (KLTV) -
The East Texas group that traveled to Selma by bus over the weekend for the commemoration of 'Bloody Sunday' returned home on Sunday morning.
One young traveler, Sir Isaac Nelson, said that the experience was humbling.
"I definitely think it's one of those things that I'll never forget," said the Tyler Junior College student. "One of those things I'll tell my children and grandchildren."
Nelson said that the three day journey to Selma and back to Tyler was long, but surreal.
"It was about 18 hours, but the experience of being with the community members, they treated you like family members," Nelson recalled about the bus ride. "We watched Selma before we arrived."
The chartered bus, organized by Dr. Shirley McKellar, included several college students and citizens across East Texas who witnessed the nation's first black president walking across the Edmund Pettis bridge 50 years after Martin Luther King Jr. did.
Nelson said that though it was difficult to see Barack Obama while standing in the crowd, hearing the president's speech was memorable.
"He didn't just talk about the civil rights movement or the right to vote," said Nelson, "But he talked about the equality acts that are going on today such as freedom to marry."
Nelson said the bus ride and being in Selma made him feel more connected to those who lived through the civil right movement of the 1960s and to his grandparents.
"I felt like a freedom rider," Nelson said. "My great-grandmother participated in the civil rights movement by preparing food and meals for people who were marching."
Now, Nelson has his own story that he can pass down about a march on the site of so much violence, but so much triumph.