By Tim Jimenez

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A group of Philadelphia sixth graders hit the road Sunday for a week-long trip down south to bring civil rights history to life.

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These Global Leadership Academy Charter School students are probably still asleep on a typical early Sunday morning, but today wasn’t one of those days, not when a bus is taking you to Atlanta, Birmingham and Memphis.

“We’re experiencing what he’s was experiencing,” said 12-year-old India Nelson, “so it’s going to be cool.”

Nelson is among the students on this educational excursion. The “he” she speaks of is Martin Luther King Junior. The subject of this trip is his life and the civil rights movement. It’s a real eye opener says teacher Gregory Wright.

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“Our young people are actually going to make Dr. King more than a YouTube clip,” Wright says. “They’ll actually go to his birthplace. They’re actually going to Memphis where they’ll go through the National Civil Rights Museum and actually be at the site of the Lorraine Motel where he was assassinated, Room 306.”

Students typically learn about history’s difference makers in the pages of a book or screen of a smartphone. But a trip like this, India says, really brings them all to life.

“Women and men who fought to get us here today,” she says, “and I think, personally, I can get in touch with them in some kind of way.”

And India says the past leads to the world today and where it can be tomorrow.

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“I’m just glad we are a better people today,” she says, “and I just hope every generation, we get better and better. I hope all the violence and racial hatred stops.”