Tuesday, May 4, 2010

This morning my alarm obnoxiously welcomed me to another day. We drew our hotel curtains back to look upon Montgomery, AL. After trying to quickly get ready for the day, quick for me being an hour and 15 minutes, we loaded the bus and ventured off to the city capital.

~...~Historic View~...~
As we walked around the city capital of Alabama, there was no doubt any local could easily pick us out as tourists. All of us were lucky not to get hit as we aimlessly walked around gawking at all the beautiful and sturdy buildings of the city. We first made our way to the home of Jefferson Davis, the man who served as the President of the Confederate States of America for its entire history, 1861-1865. Our glimpse at preserved history continued at the State Capital building where we were guided by a lady chalked full of information on every bit of politics the state had to offer. The building was breathtaking on the inside and you could see how much time and efforts were put into making the building something special. When leaving the tour I couldn't help but feel an unsettling in the pit of my stomach. I'm aware that the woman presenting the information most likely could not present us with any personal biases, but I felt as though the time she spent on the civil rights movement were brief and if one wasn't closely paying attention they would have missed it. She did however spend a great deal of time on cheerful information about Mr. George Wallace. The same man who supported ordered police force on the protesters in Kelly Ingram Park while in office as Governor of Alabama among a laundry list of other segregation efforts. Even though I knew he was not even close to being the only one who had adopted these hateful morals and values, I found it so unsettling that he was honored by this extremely over-sized painting that will always have a place in the state capital building of Alabama. I am aware there are other things he did to contribute to a better society, but I can't help but be stopped in my tracks by the hate he continued to let be done in Alabama.

~…~Remembering Those Who Have Fallen in the Name of Justice~…~
The places we have visited up to now have done a great job representing the events that have taken place during the Civil Rights Movement. The thing that has been missing is delving into the people, the ones whose passion and drive made these events happen. Our tour of the Civil Rights Memorial Center revealed more of the faces whose loss of life during the movement helped others gain a better tomorrow. We were greeted by a security guard who led us through a metal detector and a scanner of our bags. We soon learned that in the mid 1980s the center had been attacked and bombed by a hate group because of the equality they promote. Ever since then they had been taken great security precautions. An ever so intimidating historian greeted us next. She bombarded us with questions about the individuals that had lost their lives to racism and to the movement seeing if we really knew the stories. She took pride in knowing the details. Even though she caused me to leave a wet spot in my underpants, I respected her for being so dedicated to remembering the stories of the various sacrifices made. The movie we watched expanding on the events from 1955 to bout 1965 almost brought tears to my eyes. This overwhelming feeling continued as we stepped outside to look upon the Civil Rights Monument erected to honor the people who we had been talking about this whole time. The monument was beautiful. The same women who created the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. had also designed this one. It consisted of a backdrop wall with falling water running over it and also a round table with the same black granite. The water on the table ran over all the dates and short description of how and who lost their lives. Standing there I couldn’t help but think, “This table just isn’t big enough”. Even today stories continue to tell of people who allow hate to consume them and therefore justify their taking others lives because the Lord choose to make their skin different from ours. As I said, I was overwhelmed with a continually persistent question…why?

~...~Sitting Down, So Everyone Else Can Stand Tall~...~
Montgomery, AL next brought us the Rosa Parks Museum. Up to this moment, Mrs. Parks was one out of the two individuals I associated with the movement, the other being Dr. King. I enjoyed her story so much more than I had in my past elementary school years. This time I knew the stories behind it and almost could understand what she was feeling at the time of the bus incident. And what a great and inspiring story followed her act of courage, the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The people of Montgomery made a statement and let others know they want change and weren’t giving in until they got it. They had settled for so many years and had endured enough insulting treatment. It makes me wonder, what are we settling on? What is it that we continue to let dictate how we live? And if we discover and pinpoint this, will we be willing to do anything about it? …or will we continue to settle?


  1. This is an older posting I wrote and never got to put up!

  2. Hi Kyrie,

    Thanks for visiting the Civil Rights Memorial Center. Please remember and continue to share the stories of courage and commitment.

    Sorry, I came across as intimidating. It was not my intent.

    Be well.