The Faith & Politics Institute leads pilgrimages, in which bi-partisan delegations of congressional members from both houses, staff members and guests travel together and learn about a particular period of our nation’s history and the implications of that period on our lives today. As stated by Sen. Norm Coleman, who has been on a pilgrimage with the Institute, “Travel teaches at a deep level…We learn through the eyes, ears, thoughts, and hearts of others. We learn in a way that not only lasts but changes us in a very fundamental way. The Faith & Politics Institute plays a crucial role in our lives by creating those kinds of transforming experiences.”
Senator George Allen (R-Va.) and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) hosted a group to Farmville, Virginia to learn about what that community has done since 1959, when Prince Edward County shut down all its public schools to avoid integration after Brown vs. Board of Education.
For three days in early March, civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis(D-GA) and honorary pilgrimage co-chairs Sen. George Allen (R-VA), Sen.Jon S. Corzine (D-NJ), House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) led close to 40 Members of the U.S. House and Senate on a bipartisan pilgrimage to historic sites of the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama.
Mississippi is a land that has witnessed much pain: from slavery to the ravages of civil war and the struggles of Reconstruction, from the horrors of Jim Crow and the terror of the Klan through the bitterness and grief of the civil rights struggle, and from devastating floods to powerful hurricanes. But through this very same pain and struggle, the people of Mississippi have demonstrated incredible courage and enormous creativity.
A delegation of up to three dozen members of Congress will take part in a journey that explores the unique role of faith and the civil rights history of South Carolina. The pilgrimage will make stops in Columbia, Orangeburg and Charleston and listen to the stories of civil rights luminaries, religious leaders and historians.