MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Faith & Politics Institute’s annual civil rights pilgrimage featured two new stops in Montgomery this year. The pilgrimage takes attendees through a number of iconic historical sites relating to the Civil Rights Movement throughout Birmingham, Montgomery and Selma. This is the first pilgrimage to feature the Equal Justice Initiative’s Legacy Museum and Memorial for Peace and Justice, which opened last year in late April.
“The pilgrimage is always special,” said U.S. Representative Terri Sewell. “It’s always special to walk in the footsteps of John Lewis with John Lewis. I think an added feature has been both the Legacy Museum and this memorial that have been added. What can I say? The Equal Justice Initiative has really stepped up the game when it comes to making Montgomery a destination and place where people can really come and spend some time and really go back in time, history, and retrace the footsteps. It also gives us an opportunity, as members of Congress, to come together to get to know each other as people and not just R and D.”
Sewell, along with U.S. Senator Doug Jones, U.S. Representative Martha Roby and U.S. Representative, and civil rights icon, John Lewis led the pilgrimage.
“It’s what we need more of," said Roby. “As members of Congress, we get busy. We get in our lanes. We don’t have as much time to interact with one another outside of Washington, and I think this is really important. What Faith & Politics does so well is bring us together in an environment where we can, not only talk about our history and our faith, but get to know one another so that when we’re interaction with each other in Congress, we know a little bit more about each other as individuals and our families instead of just a position or policies.”
A member of Lewis’ team said it was his first time touring the memorial.
More than 300 congressional leaders, clergy members, students and other institute participants were on the pilgrimage, which started with a tour of 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham early Friday afternoon. The group attended a reception in Montgomery and stayed in the Capital City Friday night. They will travel to Selma on Saturday.
Sewell said the EJI exhibits will be a permanent part of the pilgrimage.