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Empowering youth through the first Legacy Keepers Trip

La Crosse, WI (WXOW) – On Tuesday morning, 43 black, bi-racial and multi-racial middle and high school students left La Crosse for a one-week learning experience across the American Southeast called the Legacy Keepers Trip.

In the City of La Crosse 10% of students identify as black, and with only 193 of over 3,000 local businesses owned by minorities, the trip

Students take a picture in front of their bus before departing on Legacy Keepers Trip.
Students take a picture before departing on Legacy Keepers Trip.

aims to empower students with a first-hand experience of the deep roots of African-American culture across the nation.

The organization Black Leaders Acquiring Collective Knowledge (BLACK) organizes the tour.

By highlighting aspects of black history, and the countless successful people that walk in their footsteps,

A student wearing a Black Leaders Acquiring Collective Knowledge Shirt

organization leaders describe that for these students it isn’t just a trip.

“You can start feeling as if, ‘well there’s no one in higher positions around me so what does that mean for me?’ and so when students are able to see something that’s as tangible as I can reach my goals and dreams, whatever I set my mind to in spite of whatever obstacles I have then I am all for it,” Shaundel Spivey, President of B.L.A.C.K. explains.

The Legacy Keepers Trip plans to bring students to slave trails, various museums, and seven different universities. Stops include the National African American Museum at the Smithsonian, Dr, Martin Luther Kind Jr.’s home and monument, and the National Civil Rights Museum.

It’s in an effort to help teach students about the past to benefit them for the future.


Students on the bus for the Legacy Keepers Trip

“At first it makes me mad, but then I am proud of them to be like, ‘oh you’ve put yourself through that and you made it and you’ve accomplished what you’ve done,’ and that really inspires me because they’ve done all that stuff with less than what I have now today, and they did it so I can do it too,” Member of BLACK Khyree Malone-Day says.

After the Tuesday departure, they’re driving to Minneapolis to stop at a few science museums before flying to Atlanta on Wednesday morning for their Southern US journey.

The adventure across the nation comes at a steep financial cost, one that may not be possible without the help of a $50,000 grant from the La Crosse Community Foundation, and an over $4,000 grant from the La Crosse Public Education Foundation.

Students plan to return to La Crosse by August 20.

Peter Lenz

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