Sunday, January 11, 2009

Day Two: Atlanta and Birmingham

I want to say hello to the wonderful fifth grade class at SHERMAN ELEMENTARY! Our UW-Eau Claire students are retracing the steps of the civil rights movement on the eve of the inauguration of our first African American president. It is amazing to be able to see how the commitment and dedication of young people like those at SHERMAN and those at UW-EAU CLAIRE were able to make CHANGE in our world. Learning about the change they were able to make helps me to be hopeful for the change YOU all will be able to make!

We had an amazing day today beginning at Ebenezer Baptist Church- Martin Luther King Sr. and Jr. served as pastors at this church known as America's Freedom Church. We were welcomed with true Southern hospitality. I am so grateful to the church and its members for sharing their worship service with us.

Following our church service, we took a tour of the Martin Luther King sites including the birth home, grave site, Freedom Hall, and the King Center. I was especially moved by the Coretta Scott King exhibit. She had such a significant impact on the movement and we so rarely hear about her so I enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about her remarkable life.

Then we were off to Birmingham. We watched the documentary- Four Little Girls, on our bus ride to Birmingham. This film documented the tragic bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church that resulted in the tragic death of four your girls. The fill helped to frame the events of the movement in Birmingham. Since I have an 11 and 12 year old at home, the movie was especially sad for me. I can't imagine losing them in such a senseless hate crime. We spent the afternoon at the impressive Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. This museum does a wonderful job of demonstrating the ways in which African American and other immigrant labor forces built much of the infrastructure of our country with little compensation. A great debt is still owed to those who labored without credit.

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