Today we journeyed 50 minutes northward-ish to Birmingham in the rental car and after finding the CLOSED (permanently) West Marine where we had hoped to find more doodads and thingamajigs to add to our collection (including a new flag pole thingy for our Looper burgee/flag on the bow), we continued on to the Civil Rights District of Birmingham and were steeped in impressions that left me as sad as the Holocaust Center in Jerusalem but still with some hope too and thanks for all the work of those who went before.
First we visited the very well laid-out tons of meaningful exhibits at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. No words nor amount of pix I could put here can approach the impact. Please go if you ever have the chance. But here are a few:
Perhaps this will give you a view that my words can’t: http://www.npr.org/2006/01/12/5149667/get-on-the-bus-the-freedom-riders-of-1961
I know this might look boring to most, but as a “recovering lawyer” this whole section of the summaries of over 20 landmark decisions and court battles meant a lot to me: I thought of all the pain and humiliation, the leaders’ fights and doubts, the citizens’ guts, the bad guys and why they felt so compelled to fight so hard to perpetuate the indignities, the amount of work and sweat in each lawsuit, the joys of the wins and too frequently the compounded pain of the losses and, all while still always knowing there was more to be done to erase the invisible lines/barriers/sentiments even if the legal ones were straightened out.
They had a board like this for a handful or so of other countries with historic landmark rights demonstrations, etc.
Aside from visiting the Civil Rights District, the whole point of our venture to Birmingham was to check in and visit Vicky, our “chinese daughter,” who lived with us a year or so ago. She is now attending University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)
So Vicky took a break from her studies and joined us for a few hours of lunch and more site seeing (and dog walking/chatting):
After saying good bye to Vicky (and thank you for the nice little gifts she brought), we made it back to our boat zone and Ziggy and I walked down the mile via this little country road.
We were greeted on the dock by the shaking not-scary-but-rather-chilled Snowman and the wiggling and bending big bass…
It was about an hour before dark and we decided to undock and jump across the river/lake to a cove and anchor for the night. It was the right decision and an indulgent way to escape/heal/rejuvenate the emotions of Birmingham (and the country’s) past.