Civil Rights conviction hits classroom

Atlanta educators look to Albany history for future growth. / Jessica Fairley

Before school starts, a group of teachers from Atlanta made a trip to southwest Georgia to bond with the Civil Rights movement in order to bring a better education to students.

The 'Teach for America' educators who visited Albany from Atlanta weren't born during the 1960's Civil Rights movement, but through education they know it was a period that changed not only the country but the world.

"I think there's a strong connection between fighting for what's right, and fighting for justice and knowing that fighting what's right for kids means that they get the best education possible," said Samuel Wakefield, Teach for America Managing Director.

During their visit in southwest Georgia, these first and second year educators took a look at the Albany Civil Rights scene, using it as a basis to assess their techniques in the classroom. The hope for the conference was to for each person to leave with a better understanding of how leaders from the past united the nation.

Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbard and members of the iconic Sherrod family met with the group for a brief lesson.

"Rev. Sherrod said that 'All power comes from the land and all the land comes from God' and it wasn't necessarily the quote as much as it was the conviction and the sense of purpose that he said it with," said Aaron Ruffin, an Atlanta educator.

Ruffin says when working with children, the purpose is to provide the best education possible in spite of barriers.

"Given the conditions of poverty and other conditions that they live in, our teachers figure out ways to mitigate all of the additional challenges that they face and make sure that their students still learn," said Samuel Wakefield.

In the weeklong course, it was the teachers who did homework, learning while expressing their classroom experience with others.

"We were able to share some things that we're not really able to share in the classroom of course and we spend a lot of our time around children so a lot of our thoughts are kept to ourselves," said Keisha Russell.

The Teach for America leaders say education is the Civil Rights issue for their age and in drawing strength from the past, they'll be able to build a stronger future.

Stay connected to as stories develop and the FOX 31 Newscast at 10 PM. Visit us on Facebook and Twitter to join in on the conversation and connect with FOX 31!