Monday, March 29, 2010

March 29th, 2010

Today we loaded the bus at 8:30am to head to Montgomery, Alabama. Our destination, the state capital. At the top of the stairs was a star that marked where Jefferson Davis stood as he took his oath to become the first president of the Confederacy. As we walked inside the Capital, there were two beautiful spiral staircases made by a freed slave. We were taken on a tour of the building and learned a lot about it's history. Then, it was time for lunch. After lunch, we headed to the Civil Rights Memorial Center. Outside was a beautiful fountain which we later discovered was designed by Maya Lin, a 21 year old Asian woman who also designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. As we entered the Center, we had to go through security because years earlier, Klan members fire bombed their previous office and destroyed it. We watched an introduction video. We then toured the Center and learned about the important people who lost their lives during the Civil Rights Movement who were not very well known. Next, we arrived at the Rosa Parks Museum and Library, the location where she refused to give up her seat on the city bus. We watched a short video and were led into a room where that same situation was reenacted by a hologram. One of the interesting things that we learned from our tour guide was that white people as well as some blacks did not think that Rosa Parks was worthy of the attention she was receiving. the reason for this is because there had been 4 women previously who had also tried to stand up for their rights, but did not receive the credit deserved because their stories did not connect with the public as well as Rosa's did. This part of the trip was very inspiring. It's hard to comprehend that we are actually where we are, and experiencing first hand the significant historical events that shaped our nation. Another memorable story was the bus boycott and how the whites tried to stop them by not allowing them to have insurance and business licenses for their vehicles if they were going to carpool like a taxi service. Blacks got around that by saying that the churches as non-profit organizations owned the cars, and therefore did not need those things. However, whites eventually took that case to court and won, but at the same time there was a different court case regarding bus segregation, which was deemed as wrong. Blacks were able to start riding buses again and did not need the carpooling system they had created. After the Rosa Parks museum we went on a walking tour to see Dexter Ave. Baptist Church, the only church that Martin Luther King Jr. was senior pastor of. It was a place where a lot of the organization of events took place. Our final destination on the walking tour was the restaurant called Dreamland BBQ. We ate outside in the alley next to the restaurant. It was very windy and cold once the sun went down, but it was fun. Overall, today was a long but interesting day. I think we learned a lot today, and it was an eyeopening experience.

Stephanie Sandvik and Aimee Rinnman

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