The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute & Social Psychology


Opened to the public in 1992, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) is a living institution committed to both acting as a living memorial to the Civil Rights Movement and championing ongoing struggles for civil and human rights.

Discussions of stereotypes and discrimination in Social Psychology courses inevitably turn to issues of race.  Rather than staying within the walls of our classroom, I chose to take advantage of the fact that UAB sits less than 2 miles from this world-renowned museum.  Students were required to visit the BCRI, either with the class on our designated “field trip” day or independently and then write a 2 page reflection detailing their experiences and tying them back to the course content.

This exercise was very successful.  Not only were the students able to make the connections between the group dynamics at work during the Civil Rights Movement and the psychological processes being discussed in class,  but the experience of visiting the BCRI was personally powerful for all of us.  You can read some of the students’ insights, shared with permission, below.

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