Students take action after hearing couple’s honeymoon experience

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At the Mount Airy Resort in the Poconos of Pennsylvania, reverend Gilbert Caldwell and his wife Grace are arriving for their second honeymoon.

They were greeted warmly – a sharp contrast to their first visit -- 60 years earlier.

Gilbert Caldwell and his wife Grace

In 1957, they were married in North Carolina. Then drove 8 hours -- only to be turned back for being black.

"First they pretended I didn’t have a reservation, where I actually brought a copy. And then of course they said, ‘But if we said yes, our guests would be very unhappy,'” Gilbert said.

They had to stay at a black-owned hunting lodge instead.

“Men with these big guns. Not what we were planning on,” said Grace.

Prodded partly by that experience, Gil immersed himself in the civil rights movement -- working side by side with Martin Luther King.

Now, he speaks about the movement – which is how he ended up at Bear Tavern Elementary in Titusville, New Jersey last year. He told the honeymoon story – as he ’d done a hundred times before -- but for whatever reason, this group of 5th graders really took it to heart.

“At the end of the story I was like – that’s just terrible," one student said.

“I feel like this is the worst thing that someone could do to someone,” another fifth grader said.

Even months after the Caldwell’s visit, kids are still this effected. Which is why each 5th grader wrote a letter to Mount Airy.

One said -- The Caldwells “…made me think about not only standing up for myself, but standing up for others and fixing mistakes that were made in the world.”

In closing, the kids requested an all-expense-paid honeymoon redo – which they got.

“It makes me feel really good inside because we know that even though we’re just kids, we made an impact on the world,” a student said.

“It was really magnificent to know that kids cared that much,” Grace said.

The original Mt. Airy was torn down years ago. The Caldwells went to a new building with new owners who were just so impressed with the kids they wanted to help make it right.

Obviously, this does not make up for decades of racial injustice. But it’s a step, and a sign, that we can get there.

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