Wednesday, March 26, 2014

AFRO 298 Post #4

Yesterday(Tuesday, March 25th) was very much so the most eventful day we've had so far on this trip. But before all the chaos and confusion occurred, first we went to the Rosa Parks museum which was in Montgomery, Alabama. There we learned more about what actually took place with the whole Rosa Parks and bus segregation situation. We watched a very realistic re-enactment of the events that took place on that bus in Montgomery that led to Rosa Parks' arrest. I also thought it was nice to hear all of the background information on who else was involved in this particular civil rights movement including  the teacher and her students who sent out all the letters informing the black bus riders of Montgomery to not ride the buses there as a form of boycotting until blacks were allowed to sit anywhere they wanted to sit on a bus.
Afterwards we visited the MLK Parsonage which was basically the house MLK lived in from the years of 1954-1960 with his wife and children. I really enjoyed seeing his home and while we were walking through his home, I was in complete awe. I couldn't believe that I was actually walking in the place where he lived, worked, ate, raised a family and made plans for improving the lives of blacks in this country . It just felt so surreal to me. I felt as if I could feel his and his family's presence throughout the home.
Next, we went to the Alabama State Capitol for a tour of the building. I already had a bad feeling about this tour because I saw a Confederate flag hanging outside of the building. I was also quite taken aback by seeing the memorial of the Confederate generals outside the State Capitol building. One of  the memorials in particular had an ingraving that read something along the lines of "knightliest of the knightly race." I found this to be disturbing and a bit shocking because I know this is referring to the Klu Klux Klan and white supremacy and I know they held a lot of power in the south and especially in Alabama. After observing all of this, I automatically had a bad feeling about the tour. It seemed as if the Alabama State Capitol was almost glorifying all the racist white supremacists that held power in Alabama like having a memorial statue of Lurleen Wallace, who although was the first female governor of Alabama was also a segregationist or of the paintings on the ceiling that depicted "happy" slaves picking cotton. When the tour guide was asked about certain things such as why there were still racist images being depicted in the building, her answer was to preserve the history of Alabama and this  seemed to cause an uproar. I guess the real question is where do you draw the line between attempting to preserve the history of Alabama and depicting Alabama's history without having offended visitors?

I believe that some of these images and memorials should be replaced with much more commerative images that depict Alabama's history in a more positive light. Slavery and the struggle that blacks went through in this country is not something that should be swept under the rug.

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