Ole Miss Women’s Council for Philanthropy

The University of Mississippi

Ole Miss Women’s Council freshman and sophmore scholars Birmingham trip

by Amelia Dewitt, OMWC Scholar

birminghamA few weeks ago, the freshmen and sophomore Ole Miss Women’s Council scholars embarked on a journey so grand and exhilarating that it will make you wish you could have joined us on our great adventure. The weekend was filled with gifts, fine dining, country music, civil rights, art appreciation, classic barbeque, culinary classes, and let us not forget Mrs. Katie Hester doing the notorious “whip and nae nae.” There was never a dull moment to say the least, and I am so fortunate I got to experience Birmingham, Alabama for the first time with the Ole Miss Women’s Council.

The weekend started on a bright Friday afternoon with a road trip and a McAlister’s sandwich. We drove for almost three hours and passed the time by talking, eating, sleeping, or jamming to the radio. Everyone was feeling more and more excited the closer we got to Birmingham, and we knew we had a big night planned. We arrived at the hotel and could not help but be in awe of all it had to offer. The atmosphere, amenities, and accommodations were just fantastic – we could not have been more grateful for the luxurious lodging. We then quickly got ourselves ready for all of the events we had to look forward to! First, we started off with a dinner and party at the Clark’s residence. The house was gorgeous, the food was delicious, and the people were as nice as ever. We were welcomed into their home with open arms and never wanted to leave; however, the night was only just beginning. We traveled to the heart of Birmingham to attend the country concert of the century – Lyle Lovett and Vince Gill. What better way to end the night than listening to classic country music and singing along with the Ole Miss Women’s Council? When all the fun was done at the theatre, we wrapped up the night and headed back to the hotel to get a good night’s rest for another eventful day ahead!

Saturday was the biggest, busiest, and best day of the entire weekend. All of us were ready for the escapades ahead. We started off by visiting the 16th Street Baptist Church in downtown Birmingham. I had never even heard of this church before, but shortly after walking in I realized what a great impact this place of worship had on integration in the south. The 1963 bombing was an evil act of white supremacist terrorism, but it was truly the turning point of the Civil Rights movement for the better. The beauty and history of this church were both very intriguing, and I am so glad I finally learned about this important moment in history. After that, we headed across the street to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. The journey we took through time was quite emotional and very moving. I thought the institute was well done and super informative– I will probably have to make another visit to make sure I did not miss anything! We then headed to Dreamland BBQ for a delicious lunch, and nothing is better than some classic barbeque in sweet home Alabama. After stuffing ourselves, we visited the Birmingham Museum of Art where we were exposed to more than 24,000 paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, and decorative arts representing numerous diverse cultures, including Asian, European, American, African, Pre-Columbian, and Native American. The exhibit was such an enriching experience for all of us. We ended the day with some free time, whether it was napping, shopping, or eating out on the town, and then the night began! We had the privilege of taking a private culinary class at the Grand Bohemian Hotel. We were just amazed by the gorgeous hotel and knew we were in for a real treat. Our chef was hilarious and truly charismatic, and he let us prepare and cook the dishes ourselves. By the looks of my beet-stained fingers, full stomach, and mastered crepe-making skills, I would say it was a good note to end the weekend on!

I could not be more thankful for the Ole Miss Women’s Council. Not only did they treat us to a fun weekend, but also helped us build long-lasting relationships within the council and Birmingham community. This trip was one for the books, and I cannot thank our hosts Mr. Charles and Mrs. Ginger Clark enough for the endless amounts of hospitality. The weekend would not have been possible without them or our lovely chaperones, Mrs. Karen Moore, Mrs. Katie Hester, Mrs. Mary Haskell, Mrs. Hope Tulchinsky, and Mrs. Nora Capwell. I cannot wait for the next adventure with the Ole Miss Women’s Council!