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July 08, 2019 : History Class Comes Alive for Student While Traveling

by Kellie Crawford


emily bartholicIt has been said that history becomes more meaningful when a person can make personal connections to it. This statement especially holds true for Emily Bartholic, a student on the Ohio University Lancaster campus, studying specialized studies in theatre and communications. She enrolled in Dr. Mark Nevin’s America in the 1960s history class spring semester, hoping to learn more about the pivotal decade. The class mainly focuses on the Civil Rights Movement and how it changed the country, something Emily was excited to learn about. “The Civil Rights Movement is something I’ve always been heavily interested in because I feel it was one of the most crucial times in American history,” she shares.


Learning more about the movement sparked curiosity in Emily. She began to research the topic on her own outside of class. While researching, she decided that she wanted to visit locations of significant for the movement for herself. “I believe that the best way to learn about history and our country’s past is to see these things in person. You can learn so much from a textbook, but there is nothing like standing in the same place where major American historical events took place,” Emily shares. Who would have thought that Dr. Nevin’s at the Lancaster campus would have been the catalyst for Emily’s fascination with the past and travel. 


Recently, Emily took a trip to Nashville, Tennessee. While there her main priority was to make the pilgrimage to Woolworth’s, the location of a sit-in during the Civil Rights Movement. Once she finally arrived at the famous diner, she was overwhelmed with emotion. “There are really no words to describe the way I felt sitting at that lunch counter where such an important part of history took place. I had read about the Civil Rights Movement since elementary school, and to see this for myself was truly a one of a kind experience,” Emily shares. She was allowed to tour the building, observing the white-only lunch table on the first floor and the black-only lunch table on the second floor. Emily “felt a sense of disbelief that there was a time in our history that people were separated simply because of the color of their skin.”


This experience opened Emily’s eyes and created a need for her to dive even deeper into the movement. She wants to investigate more about the movement and travel to see the landmarks that changed American history. Her current top picks are the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, the sight of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. assassination, the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site in Topeka, Kansas, Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site in Little Rock, Arkansas, the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, Tougaloo College and the Rosa Parks Museum in Montgomery, Alabama. However, her dream spot to visit currently is the home of the civil rights activists Medgar and Myrlie Evers in Jackson, Mississippi. Medgar Evers was assassinated outside his home in 1963. The home is now an official national monument. 


Emily believes that history education is a must for citizens of America, especially when it comes to the Civil Rights Movement. “These events need to be remembered,” she shares, “by preserving history, future generations will have the chance to learn about this crucial time in our country’s history, and as George Santayana once said, ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’”


Dr. Nevin will be teaching a number of American history courses at the Lancaster campus this fall, including Survey of African American History.