Participants in Civil Rights Pilgrimage speak with students

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Several people who attended a Civil Rights Pilgrimage in the summer of 2018 came to Buford Middle School on Monday to talk with students about what they learned from the trip.

The pilgrimage visited several Civil Rights sites in the South, and it delivered soil from the site of a lynching in Albemarle County to a museum in Montgomery, Alabama.

"It was life-altering for many of us," said Don Gathers, who participated in the pilgrimage and came to Buford to speak with students. "I'm just hoping that the students will be able to gain from the knowledge that we experienced ourselves."

"Some of the kids have been really surprised by just how open and honest some of the folks were about some of their own views before the trip," said Annie Evans with Charlottesville City Schools.

Talia Chamberlain, an eighth-grader at Buford, said the discussion with those who went on the pilgrimage taught her about several stories from the Civil Rights era that she had never heard before.

"People back then, they fought for what we have," she said. "There are people in other countries who don't have anything or are still fighting to go to school. It opened my eyes that I shouldn't take for granted what I have."

School leaders say they chose to have the presentations in small groups, instead of a big assembly, so students would be more comfortable asking questions.

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