Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Monday, March 21
Monday, March 21
Today we drove to Montgomery, Alabama. We went to the Civil Rights Memorial Center and tribute first. It really is a beautiful memorial. Not only was it physically beautiful, but it was so moving. Seeing the faces of all those who have been oppressed was just an amazing experience to me.
I particularly enjoyed our tour guide (whose name I cannot recall). She was very informative and thorough about the history of the civil rights movement. She was very patient and answered any questions that or my fellow classmates or I had. I applaud her for all the work that she and the Southern Poverty Center are doing.
Next, we toured the Alabama state capitol. I found it kind of peculiar that the building was very empty. I would have expected there to be lots of tourists, but there were not. The capital itself was a beautiful building, but that came at a price. The capital, according to our tour guide was built by a freed slave. However, I am sure the slave did not enjoy building a capital in a state where they still wanted slavery even after Federal law declared it unconstitutional.
The capital more or less omitted the history of slavery. It is not a pretty part of history, but it was such a central part of the first centuries of American History, as well as other histories across the world. Slaves built the homes in Montgomery. Slaves built everything that is considered historic. They deserve some recognition.
One thing that bothered me was in the gift shop at the capital there was a section of Confederate gifts. They were celebrating the hatred that was associated with the Confederate. There were some civil rights based gifts but there just should not be Confederate gifts in the STATE CAPITAL.
We went to a Confederate White House. Again, it was a beautiful home but the history behind it was neglected. I wish they would have given some Confederate history or something. But again, slavery is ignored.
We then went on walking tour of Montgomery. We walked to a fountain that used to be a slave auction location. One of our student coordinators pointed out that she was angry that this was place was being celebrated and decorated given its history. I agree that she should be mad. Humans were sold there like they were animals.
When I heard people say they want to go back to history and live in antebellum times, I wonder why. First of all, black Americans were treated worse than farm animals. How could you want to live in a time where humanity was completely ignored? Also, what about women’s rights? Women regardless of their race had no rights. They were treated considerably better than blacks but they could not vote. They could not have opinions. They could not work. Why would you not want the freedom that we now have and will continue to gain more? I just do not understand it.
We then went to the Rosa Parks Museum. I loved our tour guide, she had a great personality. However, I did not love the museum. I felt like it was geared towards small children. And I think that is great for small children but not for college students. But I did enjoy some of the artifacts from the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Montgomery was a beautiful city. But it was a city with a dark past; a past that is now glamourized. I think Alabama still has miles to go in order to start the healing process of slavery and civil rights.