A short drive away is the Civil Rights Memorial, a round, flat sculpture with water falling over it. It's embedded with the names of people who died during the struggle. Sam reads aloud each entry. He runs his hands through the continuously running water, as if trying to touch a deeper self.

"They would need 50 of these to get everything that happened," he says.

The next day we drive to Selma, Alabama. The city is infamous for the confrontation between state troopers and other law enforcement officials and marchers trying to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge for their legendary 1965 march to Montgomery to demand voting rights from Governor George Wallace. The marchers were rebuffed on their first two attempts. On their third try, they were successful and walked the 50-odd miles along Highway 80 to the state capital. The road has since been designated a national historic landmark.

We tour the National Voting Rights Museum & Institute, an extremely simple place, and all the more powerful for it. A room with cheaply framed photos is dedicated to the people who were killed during the struggle. Another room has the footprints of many who marched. Electric candles illuminate photos of martyrs, like Medgar Evers, the Mississippi activist slain at his home.

Over at City Hall, Mayor James Perkins Jr. is trying to help Selma move forward, both in its own eyes and those of the outside world." Selma has done more for the world than Selma has done for itself," says Perkins, who was elected the first black mayor of Selma a year and a half ago. A portrait of civil rights activists hangs in his office. He has a son about Sam's age, and has agreed to let Sam conduct an interview.

"How have things changed in Selma?" Sam asks.