A big part of this Road Trip in general was to learn about the places I didn’t know too much about… I’ve experienced many “major” US cities like, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, DC and Miami to name a few… What I haven’t really explored are the smaller cities that are just as important and interesting in their own right.
I feel like to accurately learn about history in the South you must also recognizing its deep involvement with slavery and the Civil Rights Movement. For me, the information I learned on this trip was not only informative, but also eye opening and very moving. Unfortunately, I had limited time in each place, so I only scratched the surface of resources you can visit, but I did feel like I was able to get to the major attractions during my visit.
So after visiting the Rosa Parks Museum, I made my way to the National Civil Rights Memorial which is also in Montgomery, Alabama. The memorial itself was created by Maya Lin, and is inspired by this phrase “we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream” from Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech.
The memorial itself is very interactive, and allows you to touch the names and historical events listed on the center piece and the waterfall that highlights Martin Luther King’s memorable quote.
As I touched the pool of water that rest on top of the names, the events that helped shape America’s history all I could think of was how real and recent it was. It was not that long ago that the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 which finally made it illegal to discriminate against race, color or sex was enacted only enacted 51 years ago, that is in our parents lifetime!
It was not that long ago the 41 martyrs who are memorialized here were last with their loved one, working toward making their world a better place. I feel the Civil Rights movement is always talked about, like it was so so long ago and so removed from our generation when in reality, it’s really too close for comfort.
Once inside the adjacent building into the Civil Rights Memorial Center, you will be able to learn more about struggles and sacrifices made during the movement as well as more information about the martyrs and role in the movement.
As you make your way through the museum like center, and read the stories you begin to see the darker side of history, the details and personal accounts that were left out of history books, the human sacrifice that gave us some of the basic human liberties we enjoy today.
With every account I read, I felt more and more reverence and gratitude for not only the martyrs listed in this memorial, but also the unnamed, unidentified individuals who changed the world by their perseverance, tenacity and sacrifice.
I was deeply moved by the end of the exhibit, and as I walked into the last room in deep thought I was greeted by a large Wall of Tolerance filled with scrolling names. Curious, I read the accompanying description and quote. So my dear readers, I leave you with the same call to action I was left with…
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