The School of Journalism & Mass Communications at San Jose State University sent ten media students from diverse Bay
Area community cultures on a fact-finding and reporting assignment driving through the historic landmarks of the Civil Rights
South on their way to the 2009 Inauguration of the first African-American President of the United States of America.


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Thought from
SJSU Student


Bianca de Castro

San Jose State University


Bianca is
primarily a
digital stills

This was
nor less

Going on National Television...Relax and Breathe!

Monday, January 12th - CNN in Atlanta calls and asks for a SJSU student to chat by telephone with
Anchor Kyra Phillips LIVE on-air about the trip. Bianca de Castro was chosen to speak for the group

As seen LIVE on CNN television Monday, January 12th.

 Phone calls with CNN are no joke!

January 12, I don't know what time it was in Atlanta, but here in Mississippi where I was it was 1:00 p.m.

And it was a 1:00 p.m. I will never forget.  There isn't a script or any answers that you could have ready or prepared for talking live on air with CNN news anchor, Kyra Phillips.

                                                                                      Her CNN Profile

I had no plan, no pre-answered questions just a prayer and the hope that I wouldn't make a
fool of myself or the school.    

Dr. Michael Cheers gave me the opportunity by selecting me to share my experiences with the world.
He and Professor Bob Rucker who is working with us from back home in San Jose gave me the
confidence that I could do what I hide behind.

Ultimately I am a writer and I don't speak, I write but today I felt empowered and confident to move
on to face the world. And this is what the journey is all about. We are story tellers and sometimes
we don't always get to tell the story in the best way we know how.

We have to make adjustments and today I feel I have.



Thoughts from
SJSU Student


Nick Dovedot

Public Relations
San Jose State University

School of Journalism
& Mass Communications

   Day 3  BLOG - Making Adjustments & Dealing With Whatever We Face

We woke up at the crack of sunlight today in Jackson, Mississippi to a fine breakfast again
(my preferred cereal Honey Nut Cheerios) with Mr. Justin Allegri again as he ate his toast and yogurt.

Our bodies weren’t yet adjusted to the two hour time difference (San Jose, you are getting two
extra hours of sleep compared to us over here) so the conversation was a little slow but we ate and
moved quick to be out of the hotel for our departure time of 8:15 a.m. to our first interview of the day,

   Jerry Mitchell.  He is the Investigative Reporter at
The Clarion-Ledger
, a statewide newspaper in Mississippi.
(Based on his online information), his reputation is known as
 “a pain in the ass,”
for Mitchell uncovers the truth behind those he investigates.

Members of the Ku Klux Klan have been convicted in courts thanks to the information he was able to
discover and unveil for the prosecution. In particular, some of the names that he provided incriminating evidence for their prosecution and imprisonment, are Sam Bowers (Imperial Grand Wizard of the KKK),
Byron de la Beckwith
(shooting of NAACP field secretary
 Medgar Evers
), and Bobby Frank Cherry (KKK member who had role in the Birmingham bombing).

The one that stood out the most to me (that I excluded in the previous paragraph) was
Edgar Ray Killen
. Not perhaps because of what he did but something else. It seemed a tad ironic
 to me that he organized the kidnapping and murdering of the three civil rights workers (James Chaney
Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner) and his last name is pronounced ‘killin’.’
To me, I don’t see Mitchell as “a pain in the ass” but rather as a truth-bearer and good person.
He represents morality and fine-tuned journalism.

Now I find myself and everyone in the group writing newscasts, uploading, downloading,
sending pictures and videos, recording broadcasts, voiceovers, sound-on-tape, sound bites,
blogging, and putting together packages and information for KTVU, Good Morning America,
USA Today, and CNN underneath two escalators in a local mall in Downtown Jackson, not more
 than three blocks away and two hours after our brilliant interview with Jerry Mitchell.
Night and morning.  Nick


Thoughts from
SJSU Student


Nick Dovedot

Public Relations
San Jose State University

School of Journalism
& Mass Communications

   Day 2  BLOG - Experiencing Memphis, History & Learning How To Pace Yourself

Today began gloriously with a wonderful breakfast along side  (fellow student) Justin Allegri
to the groaning sounds of Justin Perry lying in bed because he had been
puking all through the night.

Photos from the Memphis National Civil Rights Museum

Our first stop of the day was the Lorraine Motel, the site of Dr. King’s assassination.
Standing nearly below the balcony where his body lay, covered in blood, with Rev. Samuel Kyles
standing over him, I had to stop and just simply glance and observe. No pictures. No videos.
No talk. Just witness.

After that, I took and collected many pictures (including some with Q-Bear for
Ms. Pavolos’s kindergarten class) at the Lorraine Motel and we left Tennessee for Mississippi.

We went on a driving excursion to visit the sites involving
Emmett Till: funeral home
, courtyard, and the house he allegedly whistled at a white woman.
Each site had its own history and was heart wrenching.

After a long day with no lunch, we finally made it to Olive
at about 9:30 p.m. and we STUFFED ourselves with breadsticks and tasty food.

Night and morning.


These not for profit educational web pages were produced by SJSU Journalism Professor Bob Rucker,
co-organizer of the SJSU "Education on Wheels" effort to send media students to the Inauguration. The goal of this educational project is to provide all students
 with a better appreciation of the thinking, efforts and struggles of the civil rights movement which helped pave the way for this special moment in American history.





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