Montgomery, Alabama

We picked dad up in Atlanta, GA and got on the road for Texas via Montgomery, Al. Check out my handsome man in front of his sweet ride.

We were encouraged to come to Montgomery by our old friend, Alan Cross, to come for some “good ‘ol southern hospitality”.

Of course we started out with some great food.

We went to a southern food buffet with a healthy sized line of hungry patrons at “Fried Tomato Buffet”. Very rich, beautiful, southern food which put Andrew into a deep “digestive sleep” and prevented any further driving that day.

We had to find other diversions while Andrew slept.

TJ saw the Spanish Moss hanging from the tree. She heard about how people use it for mattresses and pillows. She responded appropriately and gathered herself a pillow.

We got a history geek/teacher tour of Montgomery, Alabama. We got the full scoop on Rosa Parks and the Freedom Riders and Martin Luther King Jr. Here we are hanging out in the church where the “Bus Boycott” was organized. Such interesting stuff. The kids were kinda tired tho. I think it is all kind of hard for them to understand racism. Even though we see it and the evidence of it they don’t understand how a normal person can hate someone, or think they aren’t as good as us, simply based on the colour of their skin. They don’t seem to understand the weight of racism. They get these confused looks on their faces as if to say, “are these people on stupid pills?” It is interesting how racism simply doesn’t fit with the innocence of childhood. Unfortunately, some kids have their innocence taken away way too young by first hand experience of such terrors.

This photo is taken right outside the church. Check out how close it is to where the seat of government was for the south.

Next we heard about the “Freedom Riders”. They were an integrated group of white and black bus riders and the violence that met them in Montgomery.

I asked about what happened to the Klan. Victory over the clan was tied in with Montgomery, Alabama too. What a place. Apparently, right around the corner from Martin Luther King Jr.s place,  a lawyer who was appalled with the Klans gang activities started suing them every time they would do something. He bankrupted them. I like that. The lawyer saw injustice. He looked at what he had in his hands. Who he was. What tools he had. He used what he had as a weapon to fight injustice.

Alan explained his passion about the whole situation. He said that the whites really thought they were being good people. All the violent acts towards blacks. They thought they were doing the right thing? In the current light you would think “How could that be?” This is what Alan is trying to figure out. How can people do such horrible things while believing they are doing something good? He believes there has been no sufficient resolution. Almost like someone saying “oops, I guess I won’t do that again” but not “I am really sorry, I was wrong, I never should have done that. It was bad.” You know, something like that.

You know, a lot of kids grow up with “Say you’re sorry!” I really don’t do that with my kids. Thought it sort of numbs the conscience and encourages them detach their words from their hearts. Instead we do something that takes a bit longer.

“Did you want to step on your sister’s foot?”

“No.”

“Well, you did and she thinks you did it on purpose unless you say something to cause her to believe differently.”

Am I being too simplistic to think that we need to say sorry in our words and in our hearts?

I am so sorry about what the whites have done to the blacks in the name of God. I am sorry for the things that were not done. I am sorry for the pain and the broken relationships that resulted. I am sorry for the wrong that is still being done as a reaction and justification for the original pain.

Wow, there is so much to say sorry for. My head is spinning with the injustices. I don’t know where to go next. Is that why people don’t like to say sorry. It opens up your heart to a whole world of wrong. A world that lives inside our hearts and influences the world around us. I want my heart to be honest so I know when I am allowing junk in that will cause me to make poor decisions and wrong those in my world.

It seriously needs to be more personal too. I am sorry for what I HAVE DONE. I am sorry when the poison in my heart takes over and causes me to see what I want to see rather than what is real. I am sorry when I judge based on first impressions. DANG! I am sorry when I judge, PERIOD! Judging is so dangerous! I am sorry when my selfishness and laziness and fear get in the way of my own acts of justice and mercy. I am sorry! I don’t want to do that anymore! I want to love without agenda or prejudice or self-preservation. I am sorry for the part of my heart that I allow to follow the same path of those who threw Rosa off the bus, that circled that church and threw stones at the people inside. That was seriously wrong and should NEVER happen again. But it has and does over and over again. Are we on stupid pills or something?

We left Montgomery 23 hours after we arrived. Our stomachs, gas tank, heads and hearts full. Thank you friends in Montgomery.

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