Saturday, January 21, 2017

Busy day sight seeing in Montgomery again.....

We are currently in Foley, Alabama but we were out of touch for a couple of weeks. I will post the blog posts in order over the next few days. Sorry for the long dry spell. ~laugh~ 

Our Location: Gunter Hill Campground, Montgomery, Al

(Tuesday Jan 10, 2017 Post)

Much warmer this morning and the day was even better. We reached warm temps into the low 60F/15.5 C this afternoon and tonight it is still in the mid 50’s/12.5 C at 9:30 pm. A fantastic day for the most part, although we had a 60 second rain shower around 4:30 pm this afternoon.

Civil Right Memorial fountain and wall of water. 

After breakfast we cleaned up a bit, packed a snack to take with us, then puttered in a half hour until we left around 8:30 am. A short drive took us to downtown Montgomery again but this time to the Rosa Parks Museum. An elegant modern building with grey cement and numerous darkened windows, a bit of dull silver accents, it’s welcoming but reserved, with a dignity that bespeaks the woman it’s named after.

We opted for just the Rosa Parks Museum, as I didn’t think Riley would be interested in the Jim Crow laws era. No pictures are allowed in the museum, so we have nothing to show for our time there. A time line depicting the events leading up to, including, and after the famous refusal to give up her seat to a white rider. The opening room offered numerous first hand narratives regarding life in Montgomery at that time of segregation in all things, buses, restaurants, drinking fountains, theaters, stores, etc. We were introduced to the new minister at the Dexter Church, Martin Luther King, Jr. He became a more focal point in the events at this time, but until then he had been safely preaching in his new church.

Selfie at the Wright Bros Park

From the narratives we entered a ‘street’ in which we watched the bus, loading, unloading, passengers. Eventually we see a young Rosa Parks getting on the bus, taking a seat and refusing to give it up. Arrested and tossed in jail, she was later found guilty and fined $10. From this room we entered into a winding path of rooms that lead us on the story of the bus boycott, the Selma to Montgomery march, the Freedom Riders, and eventually the victory ride. All documented on placard after placard with a great deal of detail and personal accounts. It was to say the least an educational tour.

From there we walked to the Greyhound Bus Station a few streets away. It was to this location that a bus carrying Freedom Riders (mostly college students) arrived to violent clashes with local whites who beat the white riders more severely than the blacks. No law enforcement of any kind were present, although it had been assured to all levels of government that there would be a police presences to keep the peace. Many local Montgomery families came to the rescue of those being beaten, driving off the attackers, bringing those on the Freedom Ride into their homes to care for them and keep them safe until they could safely leave Montgomery. Eventually John F. Kennedy called out the National Guard,  sending in some military to help restore peace and enforce the desegregation laws that were being ignored in Montgomery and pretty much thru the south.

Copy of the Wright Bros basic plane design.

 From the Greyhound station we walked a few streets to find the Hank Williams Museum. Again no pictures allowed, so we have nothing to show from there either. ~laugh~ However inside was a treasure trove of Hank Williams pictures, artifacts and memorabilia. The 1951 (I think is the right year, it might be a 52 though) Cadillac in which he died of heart failure was on display in the building. A baby blue color, rag top model. Numerous pieces of furniture from his homes were also on display. Record albums were pretty much everywhere in the place. Suits, guitars, ties, shirts, custom hand made boots, pictures and some personal items as well. It’s hard to believe the man was only 29 years old when he died, he appeared much older. It’s thought that he had a disease called Marfan which may have lead to his early death. That I didn’t know. He also had Spina Bifida, which I didn’t know either. So if nothing else I learned those things. ~laugh~

A carpet of green covers the blacktop of the walking path in Gunter Hill Park. 

 We managed to see the Court Street Fountain on our walk, it’s an impressive fountain, sitting in the middle of Montgomery Avenue with the State Capital Building at the end of the street. It’s a very impressive sight but would have been more so without the construction equipment on the street.With the short avenue between the two imposing features, the State Capital building and the fountain reflect the image of the grandeur, grace, and expanse that I associate with the deep south. The fountain is several tiers high, was built in 1885 over top of an artisan well.

We moved the Dogsled a few streets over and strolled along to the Civil Right Memorial building. This memorial is a testament to those who have lost their lives for this cause, it names just 40 people but is dedicated to all those who have lost their lives and suffered due to racism, bigotry, and hate. This is not just a memorial to the blacks and whites but to all that have suffered for many long years and continue to struggle against such things, including gays, lesbians, Arabs, handicapped, etc. The inner building is protected by a security guard, with a metal detector entrance, today an outside security guard was also present. Interesting security for a building that I would think should be pretty safe from terrorism but hate perhaps could be the motivating reason for more security. A wall of water falls over the famous quote by Dr. King,”Until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a might stream.” It is black granite with a steady wall of water running down it’s surface. In front of this black wall is another piece of black granite roundish in shape, inscribed with events and names of the events that rocked the city of Montgomery and the US in general. This too has water constantly washing over it, falling to the ground. To reach ones fingers into the water and trace those events, names and dates is a very personal experience. It is encouraged to do so, touching in a personal way the events of those terrible years. For me it was a moment of almost tasting the horror, hate, disbelief, disgust, anger, sorrow and hope these people must have felt during this era. A moving experience to say the least.

Pecans litter the ground in the second loop of Gunter Hill Park, free for the picking.

From there we headed home to the park after a short stop at the Wright Bros Park on the river. A quick walk to the edge of the park netted us a view of the muddy Alabama River. A long narrow park complete with the frame of an airplane balanced on a post. Not a lot to the park but some seating, grass and flowers.

Home by 1:30 pm, we enjoyed our busy morning. Riley was ready to drop to the couch and do her thing but I opted for a walk thru the park. Taking the pathway that winds thru the woods here in the park I enjoyed a bit of mother nature before coming to a dead end, which forced me back on the roadway to complete my walk. Repair work needs to be completed on the walkway before the path will once again connect to the other loop in the park. I was gone for about an hour and a half, and enjoyed the warmth, although it had clouded over. 

We do like chicken and veggies, don't we?

A game of Yahtzee before dinner. I won…~laugh~

Dinner tonight was Honey Pecan Chicken and steamed veggies. Excellent food and made with fresh local pecans. Can’t beat that.

Cleaned up after dinner and decided we will take tomorrow off from any sight seeing. A day of rest, which I think I need. I’m looking forward to it. So thanks for stopping by, feel free to leave a comment. Until next safe, take care…

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