After months of classroom study regarding civil rights, the 'King's Dream' students visited many of the sites of which they had read
Buccaneers QB Shaun King started the "King's Dream" program in October of 2000 in an effort to teach middle school students about civil rights. In April of 2001, 20 eighth-grade students from St. Petersburg's Academy Prep Center for Education and John Hopkins Middle School experienced King's Dream as they traced the history of the United States Civil Rights Movement through the southern United States.
By sponsoring the King's Dream program, Shaun wanted participating students to examine the impact of the Civil Rights Movement as a whole by studying human rights, equal rights, women's rights and individual rights. Shaun formed a committee composed of the Head Master, director of marketing and development and various teachers from Academy Prep, as well as members of the local chapter of the National Conference for Community and Justice, that taught the King's Dream classes.
Lessons focused on such topics as prejudice, slavery and the middle passage, the Harlem Renaissance and the Montgomery bus boycott. King's Dream participants were required to complete various research and writing assignments on topics such as the United States Civil Rights Movement, colonialism, slavery and the Civil War. They also learned about civil rights struggles around the world and discussed the Holocaust and the controversies in such areas as Bosnia, Kosovo, and Northern Ireland.
The program culminated on April 6 – 11 when the King's Dream students traveled through the South. Their first stop was Montgomery, Alabama where they visited the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, the Rosa Parks Museum and the Civil Rights Memorial. They also visited the Alabama Department of Archives and History where they enjoyed a presentation by Spider Martin, a photographer who was one of the few people to capture on film the moments of "Bloody Sunday" and the Selma-to-Montgomery march.
The King's Dream crew spent their next two days in Atlanta. They began their stay in Atlanta by attending Palm Sunday service at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King Junior's father served as the pastor. They also visited such cites as the Martin Luther King, Jr. Historical District, the MLK Center for Nonviolent Social Change and Morehouse College. In addition to the historical landmarks, the students enjoyed time at the World of Coca-Cola and CNN Center where they were in-studio guests of CNN's "Talk Back Live" show. They also enjoyed catching passes from Shaun during a spontaneous game of touch football in Atlanta's Centennial Park.
On the final day of King's Dream, the group toured Birmingham, visiting the Civil Rights Institute and Kelly Ingram Park, an area of town that contains sculptures representative of the events that took place during the desegregation of the South. They also visited Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, the scene of the Sunday school bombing in which four children were killed during the Civil Rights protests.