Thursday, December 13, 2012

DAY 112- Civil Rights and a Confederate Capital…

Early the next morning I went to downtown Montgomery to the Rosa Parks Museum that is run by Troy University.  Rosa Park has been referred to as the Mother of the Civil Rights Movement.  It was a wonderful experience visiting the museum.  I started in a room the showed a film of Montgomery now and then it showed how the city was prior to the arrest of Rosa Parks.  There were local citizens of the community that spoke on film of their memories of how it was with the Jim Crowe Laws in effect.  The film showed photos of signs of white only and black only.  Next, the doors opened up into a room where there was a old bus in the middle of it.  It was like a step into the past.  Through the windows of the bus played out the scene of Rosa Parks’ arrest.  Rosa was firm but passive during the whole event.  She maintained her dignity too.  It was fascinating to watch.
Photo- Just inside of the Rosa Parks Museum in Montgomery, AL.

Next, a set of church doors opened and I learned about what happened within the community after that.  It was very interesting to learn about the influence that Rosa Parks had on Martin Luther King too.  It was also amazing the level of planning and community involvement that it took to keep the boycott going.  There was a great deal of organizing that went into the carpooling that managed to get people to their jobs over the 13 month boycott.
Photo- The home Martin Luther King lived in Montgomery, AL
which is now a museum and was closed for the day.

Next, I found I had to laugh a bit and found it rather ironic that I ended up following a Montgomery City Bus on the way to Martin Luther King Jr’s house.  The home had been turned into a museum but had been bombed when the Kings lived there.  Well, the MLK House was closed.  Darn it!  So I just ended up driving by and taking a photo.
Photo- The front of the Alabama State Capital.

Then, I parked my car a few blocks away in front of the Alabama State Capital which happened to be the same Capital that was used by the Confederates as a base for government.  I really found it interesting that all of this history was within a few blocks.  I put money in the parking meter and then walked up the front steps of the Capital.  Meanwhile, a group of elegantly clad high school kids were coming down.  It looked like a choir with the boys in suits and the girls in long blue taffeta skirts.  I felt a bit under dressed and wondered if something special was going on in the Capital.
Photo- The foyer area just inside the front door of the Alabama State Capital.

The state capital of Alabama is like a mini replica of our nation’s capital.  It’s white with the columns down the front and a dome up top.  It’s placed on a hill that I found out was called “Goat’s Hill” which accounts for the gift shop’s name in the basement.  I took a picture of the outside.  They have a statue in the front that’s Mr. Confederate President himself, Mr. Jefferson Davis.  I’m always fascinated that they like to brag about their confederate history here in the south.  I would’ve been embarrassed to be a part of this but here they almost brag about it; which makes it even more interesting that a few blocks away is a museum dedicated to the mother of civil rights.  The south is such a quandary.
Photos- Of the rotunda of the Alabama State Capital.

I walk into the front door of the capital expecting security like most state capitals with roped off areas, a scanner and a gate that I would walk through; after I empty my pockets of change and keys.  Nope!  There’s a large Christmas tree in a foyer with stairs wrapping up on each side as I walk in.  Off to one side and back, there’s a security guard sitting at a table with an older lady at an information table.  There’s a table and detection gate way back and off to the side.  I say hi and the guard asks to check my purse and then after a bit has me walk through the gate.  It was a very laid back type of thing.  I was really surprised. 

I got a map of the capital from the lady and she asked where I was from.  She was rather proud that someone as far away as Utah wanted to see her state capital.  She asked me to sign the visitor’s book and welcomed me.  From there I just walked around on the main level which was mostly all white walls with elaborate molding.  Down the center hall, they must have had some event going on there were men in military outfits and dressed up people.  I walked around them; getting the eye from some state policeman with a wide brimmed flat hat.  I took out my camera, took pictures, and read signage about the building.   The state policeman is really keeping an eye on me and standing next to another man that other people are shaking his hand and wanting to talk with.  It turns out later that I was actually in the same room as the Alabama governor.  Their security is very laid back; it was mind boggling.
Photo- The first floor area, all very white.

I walked up to the next level where I could see in the dome area which was lovely but smaller than other capitals I have been in.  I was also amazed at how many doors were open and I could see Capital workers and statesman at work at their desks.  It was a very much open door policy.  In fact, there were only a couple of hallway areas that were roped off from visitors.  Otherwise it was a free for all. 

I walked down the back stairs to the gift shop which the information lady had recommended I visit.  There was another lax set of security guards by the back door with a table off to the side and the detection gate.  I walked by them saying hi and walked into the gift shop just across the hall from them.  Wow!  I will say that this was the nicest gift shop I have seen in any of the state capitals.  It was well presented and had a lot of items made in Alabama which I was amazed at the variety; from pottery to Alabama mud stained t-shirts to scented candles handmade tiled angel ornaments to cheese sticks (??) to candies.  I got a couple of postcards and could help but laugh about the Alabama mud stained t-shirts.

Next, I was fueled up and heading out of town heading east through Alabama back country towards Macon, GA.  I was about 30 miles out and it’s raining with dark clouds in the sky when the car radio announces a thunderstorm warning until 2pm and a tornado watch until 3pm.  It was strange because I haven’t had to worry about tornadoes for years since I moved away from Iowa and here I was driving on a back road in Alabama with a tornado watch.  I was almost out of the county that had this watch but it made me keep an eye on those dark clouds a little more closely and be aware of what shelter may be in the area as I drove along.
Photo- A Hillbilly Mall along a back road in Alabama?  Now that wasn't surprising!

It was pouring rain when I got to Macon, GA.  I managed to drive right to the hotel; only to find I had made the reservation for the next night.  Ooopps!  We got that rectified and I got settled in.  Then, I proceeded to try to locate a pizza place in the area but there was none; even though there was no shortage of restaurants nearby.  I finally gave up because driving in the area was near impossible with all the accidents.  They really don’t know how to drive in Macon when it rains.  I found a Sammy’s BBQ place about a block from my hotel and went in.

It was a rustic little BBQ place where a majority of the clientele was local southern middle class whites.  I seemed to fit right in except for having no accent.  I ordered a half slab of ribs with coleslaw and fries.  The ribs came hidden under the fries and a piece of garlic bread.  There were 4 different sauces to choose from on the table; I went with sweet and spicy.  It was good stuff!

No comments:

Post a Comment