Students recreate the civil rights movement in Second Life

Americans celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day this past week to honor both the man and the civil rights movement that he supported. As part of that celebration, a team of doctoral students from Indiana University of Pennsylvania used Second Life to recreate key moments in the civil rights movement as a teaching tool.

Players who went through the simulation encountered critical junctures of the movement, including the Montgomery Bus Boycott, King Jr.'s beginnings at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, the 1963 March on Washington, and the Mississippi Freedom School Movement. By experiencing it first-hand in a virtual world, players hopefully gained a perspective on the issues surrounding segregation, integration, equality, voting rights and civil disobedience of the era that are in danger of slipping into distant history.

As they moved through the simulation, players were able to take quizzes, look at photos and videos, and make personal choices relating to the movement, such as whether to protest or sit in the back of the bus.

While it looks as though the simulation is no longer available in the game, you can watch the two-minute overview of the project after the jump.