After waking up late and checking out of the Courtyard by Marriott, we drove the few miles to downtown Montgomery, where our first (and main) stop was the Civil Rights Memorial and Memorial Center, sponsored by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Inside the Civil Rights Memorial Center
The memorial center houses a fairly small museum with a few exhibits that focus on the 40 people whose names are inscribed in the Civil Rights Memorial in front of the center — people who died during the struggle of the Civil Rights Movement, from Emmett Till to Martin Luther King, Jr. (The dates in the memorial range from 1954 to 1968; those dates were chosen because the former was when the Supreme Court ruled on Brown vs. Board of Education and the latter was the year Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated.) Although the museum is quite small, the exhibits are quite powerful,, and I felt it was very important to bring Aytan here to show him this dark chapter (one of many, unfortunately) in our nation’s history.
Part of the memorial, still covered for renovation
The focal point of the memorial is a circular granite slab with the names and dates of key events in the Civil Rights movement
The main element of the memorial
The memorial itself — designed by Maya Lin, who designed the the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. — has been undergoing renovations for several months and was still under wraps somewhat today (it’s scheduled to be “open” again in the next week). Fortunately for us, a woman who works in the center was kind enough to let me walk around the barricades to see and touch the memorial, which normally has water running over it but was dry today due to the renovation.
The Alabama State Capitol
After leaving the Civil Rights Memorial we walked two blocks to the state capitol, where we took a brief self-guided tour. I didn’t want to spend too much time in the capitol, especially after seeing the portrait of George Wallace, so after a few minutes we headed to the gift shop to buy a souvenir shotglass before heading out for lunch.
The world’s largest fireworks store?
It’s like Costco, with nothing but fireworks
We left Montgomery shortly after 2pm (local time) for the 2.5-hour drive to the home of Paul & Wendy Kohn in Atlanta, from where I’m writing this blog. On the way we made an unscheduled stop in Cusseta, Alabama at Shelton Fireworks — which bills itself as the world’s largest fireworks store — to buy a nice gift for Paul & Wendy (who doesn’t like sparklers?).
Paul & Wendy
Shortly after arriving we sat down to a delicious homemade meal of salad (tomatoes from Wendy’s garden), pasta and eggplant parmigiana (tomatoes AND eggplant from Wendy’s garden), followed by homemade peach tart for dessert. It was, without doubt, one of the best meals I’ve had in our two months on the road.