Monday, January 7, 2013



Words. We put them together to form sentences, and string those together to form paragraphs and speech. I’d just like to say a few things about words in today’s post.

First of all, I am at a TOTAL loss for words as to how to describe this trip. Phenomenal. Life-changing. Eye-opening. Insightful. Just a few words that come to mind. The reason I have a hard time actually finding words to describe the power of this pilgrimage is because of the overwhelming feeling that comes over you – an aura of empowerment, drawing on the courage and dedication of the activists in the Civil Rights Movement, but also horror when we learn of the heinous acts against African Americans.

Another thing about words. Sometimes we don’t say them. Sometimes we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. Sometimes we don’t think it is politically correct. In my opinion, circumventing the words that were ever present in the Civil Rights Movement is a cop-out. An embarrassment to the PEOPLE and to the HISTORY of the times. For example, many people say “the n-word” instead of it’s less politically correct form. We know everybody is thinking it in their heads. I don’t endorse by any means calling someone by this very derogatory term, but by trying to cover it up, it is almost erasing history as it really happened.

I had an experience today where it seemed like people were trying to erase history, more specifically, the African Americans’ plight for freedom and equality. While touring the Alabama State Capitol, I noticed several things that seemed…off. The first, they hung the coat of armor of every country they have belonged to, except the United States of America. When the tour guide was asked about this, her response was simply “If we had another wall, we’d put it up.” This doesn’t seem like a legitimate excuse to me, as they are currently part of the USA and will likely always be part of the USA. Another thing that got me extremely fired up is when I noticed that the murals painted along the walls that had the history of Alabama on it neglected to include any mention of African Americans. The only semblance of African Americans was one figure who was painted to look happy, when we know that through their turmoil and struggles, this simply was not the case. I asked the tour guide why they didn’t change them to include the history of the African Americans and the struggles they faced; she said to me in a forthright tone, “we can’t just change the murals because that would be like rewriting history.” Excuse me?! Maybe I’m wrong in thinking this, but by not including this at the Capitol and circumventing the topic when it is brought up, they are only choosing to ignore this ‘blemish’ on the Alabama State history.

Those paragraphs. Sentences. Words. When it comes to the true meaning of it, sometimes words need to be said, no matter how politically correct or incorrect they are.

Below are some photos I took during the day today, just to give anyone reading this any idea of what we’ve done. (Click to view a larger size) :) 

Standing at this podium was very powerful to me, as it was the podium original to when Dr. King was at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, his first congregation. Below is a group picture at the church. 

Alabama State Capitol

We had to :)

Some proud Minnesotans at the Capitol! 

"Until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream" - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. -- Civil Rights Memorial

Emmett Till and his mother Mamie Till-Mobley are very powerful figures to me. 

I signed my name!

The corner at which Rosa Parks was arrested.

A neat Gandhi quote at the historical Greyhound Bus Station in Montgomery, AL. 

We finished off a very full day with getting even MORE full on BBQ at Dreamland BBQ! 

Greg Hofmann
Junior - UWEC
Political Science & Student Affairs

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