Posts Tagged ‘Montgomery’

I’m now really regretting using the post title “Montgomery to Selma” . We haven’t been to  Selma yet, but there it is in every title. If there’s anybody out there reading this, how annoying is that!   I originally thought I’d be able to sum up this week in one or two posts. But, too many memories, and too little ability to put them into words.  We ARE going to get to Selma though.  For anyone who’s hanging in there .  (That will be Dick and I in our rocking chairs, in the not-too-distant future, yelling to each other, “Hey!  Did we ever go to Selma?!”)

At this point, we’re still in Montgomery, staying at Gunter Creek Campground every night. Not a bad spot to call home for a few nights.

Gunter Hill Campground - view from campsite

And we go back to Montgomery on our third day in the area, and  take the trolley tour, visit the Rosa Parks Museum ( I could write another whole post on that and call it Montgomery to Selma Part 4, but I’m restraining myself.  I’ll just say it’s powerful and well worth visiting.)

We’ve parked our  Navion every day we’ve been in Montgomery, in back of the Visitor’s Center – the railroad station/trolley stop (VERY convenient if you have a small rig). So, tonight (and a couple other nights)  we walk to a recommended restaurant – “Dreamland Barbecue” and pig out. On our first night, we get a huge sampler of ribs, chicken, barbecued pork etc.  with all the sides, AND Dick orders barbecued sausage as an appetizer. It’s a fun place, and the owner/manager? is really friendly and sits at out table, telling us about the major changes underway.  Like a very cool outdoor bar with an amazing number of artisan beers on tap.  We talk about small breweries in Wisconsin (where we’re from) – he makes a note of our beloved New Glarus Spotted Cow.

All right.  I’ll get another day here into Part 3.  The Biggest One.

Martin Luther King.  His home.  Our visit starts with a pretty funny encounter with one of the guides.  While we’re parking our tiny motor-home, this beautiful senior African-American woman (in a gorgeous red dress) comes out to tell us that a tour will start in a few minutes.  While I’m listening to her, I’m taking off this large man’s white shirt I wear over my regular clothes when we travel- so our old cat can sit on me and shed. She gives me a lot of grief.  Kidding me about being a stripper- it’s goes on, we have some great give and take, before and after our tour.

But now, we really are on hallowed ground.  After a brief orientation, we go into Martin Luther King’s home. It’s so  amazingly accessible. We’re allowed to wander around in the living room, it’s not roped off at all. It’s an overwhelming feeling – the thoughts, fears and plans that happened in this place.  It’s awesome to see the dining room table, where SNCC was born and where all those tough decisions about the boycott were debated and made.

The highlight is the kitchen, where we get to stand around the very table, where Martin Luther King bowed his head over a cup of coffee, weary and worried,  and asked God if what he was doing was right. God answered.  The rest is history.

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We came to Montgomery to see where Rosa Parks made history by taking her seat on the bus and not giving it up,  to learn more about the Montgomery bus boycott and to visit the home  and church of Martin Luther King.

I haven’t visited this part of the south since I was in early grade school – what I remember most vividly from that trip was my Dad drinking out of the “colored only” drinking fountain and using the “colored only” restrooms.  It caused some ugliness from white people that made me uncomfortable and afraid, while at the same time I felt proud of my father.  It was a small gesture he made, I guess, but it said  a lot to me.  I expect that times will have changed in so many ways.

Check-in at our first RV park:  Friendly staff recommend the top 3 sights to see while we’re here;  The State Capitol, The State Archives, and the White House of the Confederacy. We head downtown to the Visitor’s Center to check out parking and get oriented.  Our friendly staff person there recommends the same three sights. Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King are second tier. What is this?  Is it the color of our skin? I’d hate to think that.  I don’t begrudge them their pride in their Capitol building, etc. (well, actually, I take exception to one of their rather inferior paintings in the rotunda – with a title something like, “when wealth and leisure led into the golden antebellum age” – sure, wealth and leisure arrived while you were sitting on that pretty veranda).   It’s just that I don’t understand their relegation of this city’s great Civil Rights heritage onto a back burner, when for us, it’s the major reason we’re here. We’re looking forward to anything else the city has to offer, but that’s just frosting on the cake.

I guess I’m not going to get rid of conflicting emotions on this trip.  We switch campgrounds the next morning, and because it’s too hot to be in downtown Montgomery, drive to Tuskegee.

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