Today was a full of a lot of firsts. I drove across state lines myself, for the very first time and for the first time, I feel that I understand the civil rights movement of the 1960’s on a deeper level. As a child, I had the blessing of growing up in a community that embraced Black history beyond the month of February. Learning about Black success, struggle, and heritage was an everyday part of my life. I have always felt, however, that visiting the land where many of these things took place takes them off the pages of history books and makes them real.
After coming in off the road, we grabbed lunch at a modest soul-food restaurant housed inside a bright yellow house on Cullen Street, not too far from downtown Montgomery. On the porch there was a chalkboard with the word Freedom written on it. That word became the theme for the evening. As we drove around town, looking at various historical monuments and even while taking a short walk near the Alabama River, I reflected on the journey of those who came before us. Staring at the river, walking up the steps of the Alabama State Capitol, taking in all of the sights and sounds was beyond real to me.
Tonight, we ended day one with a trip to the only theatre in town still showing Ava Duvernay’s Selma. I know this does nothing to help my street cred but I have to keep it real and let you all know that I hadn’t seen the film until now. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to but you know how it goes sometimes. I was so happy Victoria insisted that I see Selma before our trip to Edmund Pettus Bridge. It was powerful and gave me tons to think about. At the time, did those brave souls know that their sacrifice would literally change the world? I’m not sure but what I do know is that I am beyond grateful for everything that they accomplished and endured. It was a fitting end to a wonderful first day in Alabama.
See our first day in Alabama on video: Here