Well yesterday in Birmingham was really interesting, I mean its not everyday that you get to see up and close a white robe of the Ku Klux Klan. I'm not talking about behind a glass case, this one freshly brought in from over the weekend in a Walmart bag. The person donating the item...purchased it from an estate sale recently, it even still had several stains on it. I am truly amazed!
Well, enough about yesterday, what I really would like to share with you is everything that happened today! We started out from Birmingham at around 9:30 (a bit of a later start for once this week) and got into Selma around 10:00 am to visit the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute. This museum depicts the stages in which the Movement began in Selma and primarily concentrated around the Voting Rights Act that enabled African Americans the ability to vote, but this would not be that simple. Worse, the ability to register would undermine them though impossible tasks such as quoting entire sections of various government documents in order to be "eligible" to register. Moreover, there were days the office was closed, usually days when the majority of African Americans were off of work and also closed earlier than the work day. Less than 5,000 African Americans were allowed registration, 1 in every 5, in fact sometimes less which many were vouched by white individuals who pledged that those with voting power would vote for their side, the "right" side.
The wall in the entrance recognizes all those individuals to were present during the famous march from Selma to the Capitol steps in Montgomery, which we will be visiting tomorrow, where it started of with a mere 300 marchers and gathered over 25,000 marchers along the way. But only after Bloody Sunday were hundreds of victims fell prey to the night sticks of mounted police and state troopers set on preventing the march. Tear gas spread quickly and thickly around the marchers, shielding from the public eye the atropcities of violence the officers would inflict upon so many. The second march, which included Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was very successful in comparison to Bloody Sunday, but this country will never forget the first.
After viewing many articles and artifacts it was time to visit Footprints to Freedom. With this experience being so intense I am afraid I will have to post a story of our experience towards the end of the week after much thoughful preparation. Please visit back on this very exciting and powerful reflection of what Footprints to Freedom means and the debriefing that followed. You are in for an ear full!
See you in Montgomery!