Thursday, July 14, 2022

Mel Tucker heads to Alabama as part of Big Ten educational trip on Selma and Montgomery


Head Coach Mel Tucker returns an autographed football to a fan during Michigan State University’s spring football practice at Spartan Stadium on Saturday, April 16, 2022 (Jenifer Veloso | Veloso

By Matt Wenzel |

Michigan State football will be well represented on an educational trip to Alabama about the civil rights movement.

Coach Mel Tucker, wide receiver Tre Mosley, offensive tackle Spencer Brown and tight end Maliq Carr are part of a group from the university taking part this weekend in the Big Life Series: Selma to Montgomery, it was announced Wednesday. Michigan State chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer Dr. Ashley Baker and women’s track and field standout Brooke Bogan will also represent the university on the trip.

The Big Life Series: Selma to Montgomery, was announced by the Big Ten during Black History Month this year as an action of the conference’s equality coalition. The conference will send a group of 100 athletes, coaches, administrators and staff on a trip that will also include representatives from the Pac-12 and ACC.

“We established the Big Life Series to help further prepare our student-athletes to impact the world beyond their athletic careers,” Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said in a press release. “Our trip to Selma and Montgomery is a first in a series of trips that our student-athletes, administrators, and members of the Big Ten Equality Coalition will take to inspire a meaningful dialogue about racial, social, religious, and cultural injustices in our nation. Big Life Series: Selma to Montgomery will empower our Big Ten Conference family to use their voices to drive change in their respective communities.”

The Selma to Montgomery marches, led by Dr. Martin Luther King in the 1965, were organized to fight for voting rights and the 54-mile route in 1996 was established as the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail. Nonviolent marchers were stopped and beaten by law enforcement while crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge on March 7, 1965, in what became known at Bloody Sunday.

“This is an incredible opportunity to provide our Spartan student-athletes with an in-person learning experience in one of the most iconic historical sites of the Civil Rights Movement,” Baker said in a press release. “My hope is that we are able to embrace the learning, reflect on the experience, and return to our campus inspired to continue the push for change in our local community and beyond.”

The trip starts Friday night in Montgomery with viewing of the documentary series “Eyes on the Prize,” and a keynote speech from Sheyann Webb-Christburg, author and eyewitness of Bloody Sunday. On Saturday, the group will head to the First Baptist Church in Selma where students began the march to Montgomery.

Participants will march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge before returning to Montgomery to tour a variety of locations, including the Civil Rights Memorial Center, the Alabama Department of Archives and History, the Equal Justice Initiative Legacy Museum: From enslavement to mass incarceration, and the Interpretive Center at Alabama State University. Those on the trip will spend Saturday night listening to EJI Legacy Museum founder and social justice lawyer Bryan Stevenson before breaking off into groups to discuss their experiences. Those smaller sessions will be led by university diversity, equity and inclusion directors.

“I am so happy to be given the opportunity to go to Selma,” Bogan said in a press release. “I believe that going to see things such as the Edmund Pettus Bridge will really shine light on a new perspective for me. It’s one thing to learn about events and another to really be in the environment where said events actually happened. I’m excited for the knowledge and further understanding I’ll gain from this trip.”

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