Riding to History

A Dallas middle school’s students traveled to January’s inauguration in style

Whatever someone’s political affiliation, the significance of Barack Obama’s inauguration as the U.S.’s first African-American president can’t be denied. After centuries of racial inequality, the election of an African-American president signifies that, although we haven’t yet achieved the dream of a fully color-blind society, light-years of progress have been made towards that goal.

To celebrate this milestone, students at Dallas’s DeSoto Middle School traveled to Washington D.C. for January’s inauguration -- and several civil-rights landmarks -- in a motorcoach bedecked with an approximately 800-sq.-ft., patriotically themed wrap. The school named the tour the Three-Fifths Countdown to History Tour; the title references the 1787 compromise the Constitution’s creators made to count the slaves as three-fifths of a person to address taxation and apportioning Congressional delegates.

Eric Williams, a Dallas-based video producer who accompanied and filmed the students on the trip, hired 360 Wraps (Dallas) to produce the program. Tommy Strader, the company’s owner, handled the design and installation on the hectic, two-day turnaround – and he graciously donated the labor and design. Using Adobe® Photoshop®, Strader incorporated Old Glory and Washington D.C. icons, a map of the bus’s route and the documentary logo, which features the title, a copy of the Constitution, shackles and a photo of President Obama.

To fabricate the wrap, the shop used Avery Dennison Graphics MPI 1005 Easy Apply RS™ air-egress film and DOL 1360 gloss-finish overlaminate. They printed the graphics on a Mutoh ValueJet 1604. Avery and Mutoh donated the media and ink, respectively.

Along the 1,900-mile trip – which a Dallas radio station and two entertainment-production companies sponsored – DeSoto students and teachers visited Little Rock, AR’s Central High School, where, in 1957, the school’s first African-American students bravely faced a violent, pro-segregation mobs; Atlanta’s King Center, where they leaned about Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy; and several stops along The Underground Railroad, a covert network of abolitionists who sheltered slaves and helped them flee captivity.


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