June 18 Marshall Lewis Its been a long couple days…
June 18 Marshall Lewis Alabama
Its been a long couple days, as you can probably tell by my lack of blogging lately. So I’m going to give you a brief summary of the last 3 days. After our stay with the Quaker family in northern Alabama we began to travel to certain historical landmarks in Montgomery and Birmingham. Soaking in the cultural significance of such sites as the 16th street Baptist Church, home of infamous church bombings of 1963, which claimed the life’s of four young girls and sparked rebellious conflicts that’s helped fuel the Civil Rights movement.
In Montgomery we visited the state capital, which over looked the Civil Rights memorial with the inscription: “Until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream” -MLK. This quote symbolizes how the injustices of the world should be over run by the natural flow of justice; however, I could not help but witness the irony of our surrounding as I learned that the same capital which over looked the memorial was built by the same people who escaped slavery through the Underground Railroad system.
I experienced the same ironic feeling yesterday when SNR visited Selma, the home of the 3 marches across the Edmund Pettus Bridge; home of Bloody Sunday. For all of those whom aren’t familiar with the meaning of the marches, as I was days ago, then I’ll inform you that the marches were non-violent protests against poll taxes and the other injustices that prevented African Americans from casting their ballots. Bloody Sunday was when the local police unleashed a variety of “crowd control” tactics against the protested. Many people lost their lives to the onslaught of tear gas, police brutality, and attack dogs. Yet as I walked through Selma I could not help but notice how the current city seemingly failed the expectations that their predecessors had fought for. We met wonderful and generous people in Selma. By no means am I trying to disrespect the city. Yet at the same time certain aspects of the city stood out to me: such as the 50% drop out rate among our African American peers, or the fact that our hosts whom were lifelong residents didn’t feel safe traveling to a gas station alone at night. In fact after Selma began to break the boundaries of racism and injustice, the white population relocated.
So far on this trip I have noticed how our present racial conditions seem to have come out differently then what our forefathers fought for. People have come to forget just how lucky they are to have the freedoms they have today. At a certain point in time (not too long ago) simply getting a drink of water could lead to a body hanging in the trees. Maybe it seems that I am over exaggerating the issue but it’s just one reoccurring theme that I’ve started to observe throughout this trip.
-June 18, 10:31 pm
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