May 2—HOBSON CITY — Law students from Brigham Young University paid a visit Tuesday afternoon to Hobson City to get something more than the museums of Montgomery or Atlanta can offer their studies of civil rights.
The 12 students were from Utah, Arizona, Washington State, one was an Alabama native, and one Californian was making her first trip to the South.
They were able to hear from people who lived the story and history in real time, shake their hands and even share a hug.
Brad Rebeiro, associate professor of law at BYU, said this is the second time undergraduates have made the trip but decided this time to include Hobson City as the tour focused more on the legal issues of civil rights.
"The undergraduates have always had a civil rights study tour taking them throughout the South," Rebiero said. "We began to think why we were not doing this for our law students. This tour for law students does much the same in that it teaches history but it also has more of a legal focus to show them there are opportunities for them to get involved in a legal way once they graduate because the case for civil rights is still ongoing."
Rebiero said once his department realized Hobson City's proximity to Anniston "as well as its own history we could not pass up the opportunity to come here and we hope to make it an annual event."
Mayor Alberta McCrory played tour guide through the historic C.E. Hanna School as she told the story of the school and the city as well as showing some of the artifacts now being collected for a proposed museum.
By coincidence, the students' visit happened at the same time members of a committee for a reunion of Calhoun County Training School students were having a planning session.
Those veterans of the civil rights movement in Calhoun County made themselves available to the students to share their personal stories and experiences of those turbulent times.
"It was awesome seeing this next generation so interested in our story," McCrory said. "You could see it in their eyes and heard it in their questions."
"This is a good time for them to learn firsthand from those of us who are of African descent and how we live and work and have meaningful lives in spite of all of the racism and things that happened to us and to our people," McCrory said. "I think the one young lady who said she had never been to the South will come back. She said she would see me next year."
Staff Writer Brian Graves: 256-236-1551.