– Jamie Miller
Today, we left Atlanta and crossed into Alabama.
At the rest stop between state line, we saw a sign that stated “Dare to Defend Our Rights.”This is an example of emphasizing states rights over federal law which stems from the Civil War. Many southern states believe the jurisdiction of the states is more applicable than that of the federal government. Currently, the battle is worsened with the Supreme Court decision to legalize same sex marriage. Next, we traveled to Montgomery to visit the Rosa Parks Museum.
It is built on the exact spot where Mrs. Park’s was arrested. We learned about the struggles of people of color during segregation. We learned that all people had to pay up front but the people of color had to go to the back of the bus to enter. The main result of this was humiliation. This was beautifully depicted by a bus showing Rosa Park’s resistance using with holographic representation. Now, we could further understand why Rosa Parks was a great protester and moreover not a victim. For lunch we went to Martha’s place. Many of us weren’t accustomed to southern cuisine but even the locals we spoke to agreed that this was the best around.
Her fried chicken was amazing and there were also delicious vegetarian options. Martha herself was an inspiration. After eating she told us her story. She was clinically depressed and actually attempted suicide. Using blind faith and determination, she built her restaurant for scratch into the success it is today.
It was also her birthday as well as two people from our trip so we celebrated everyone’s birthday too!
After lunch we went to the Southern Poverty Law Center. They are a group that fights hate using legal action. One of the most personal actions taken by our group at the SPLC was the pledge of tolerance. It wasn’t mandatory but if we wanted, we could sign the pledge and have our name up on a gigantic screen with names of other people from all over the world, uniting us in the battle against intolerance.
Billy throughout the trip has said that we are lucky to get to meet with the history book.Today we met with Bishop Woods. The bishop was on the front lines of the fight for civil rights in Birmingham and worked along side Dr. Martin Luther Jr. Because of his tremendous faith, the Bishop today and during civil rights movement felt the push for equality. Together, we all chanted songs which made us feel as if we were fighting for freedom and in a way we are, or should be.
At the end of the day, to get ready for our time in Memphis, Billy spoke to us about the history of rock and roll and how it tied into the history of the Civil Rights movement.