Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Selma To Montgomery To Birmingham


The day after my silly birth day (read about that here), we began the main portion of our Civil Rights Trail. We checked out of our Airbnb on the Gulf, and made our way into Montgomery, AL for our first stops. Montgomery has everything marked beautifully and easy to get to. We were able to find parking near the capital building and walk to many of the stops along the trail. 

The minis were sad to leave our cozy canal house. We really enjoyed the vibes of the neighborhood and the house itself.

Alert! Alert! It's a statue! Statues always make the hair on his back to rise, he gives his loudest bark, and then he has to investigate the statue before he approves. 

Montgomery has a very comprehensive walking trail with well marked signs to follow. We took the time to read all of the signs and plaques. If you don't mind putting in the miles, which we didn't, you can easily walk most of the sites in Montgomery. 

The moment I realized how much they're learning in their foreign languages. Elizabeth has been studying Spanish and Harrison began French last semester. They were walking several feet behind us, quizzing each other on phrases, counting, and random words in the different languages. 

Unfortunately, the National Memorial For Peace And Justice was closed. I had really wanted to go here and the Legacy Museum while in the city, but neither were open, so we couldn't get close to either.

After looking up to make sure we had it correct, we drove the historic trail from Montgomery to Selma, AL (yes, backwards). Despite not going from Selma to Montgomery, it was very powerful to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge as we entered Selma. 

Selma is easy to get around and drive to see all of the stops in the town.

We saved Birmingham for the next day since we drove through most of the state and did a whole lot of walking in one day. Of all monuments and memorials we visited, Birmingham was my favorite. I had hoped to go to the National Civil Rights Institute while in the city, but honestly, the walking tour through downtown kept us busy for a few hours and was incredibly intriguing. Starting at Kelly Ingram Park (a must visit if you're ever in the city), we walked a few miles following the signs, reading the plaques, and talking about everything that happened.

We have studied civil rights a lot, but we learned a lot on this trail through Birmingham. The sculptures helped the kids immerse themselves in what life was like during the civil rights movement and painted a harrowing picture. Every one of us cried or got choked up while walking the trail. 

Out of everything we learned and spoke about, how children were used during the movement affected the minis the most. In case you need a refresher (or didn't learn in the first place), "Bull" Connor released dogs to attack children protesting. At Kelly Ingram Park, you follow a path through a sculpture that has dogs jumping out from it, creating the affect that the dogs are attacking you as they once did the children. 

The Civil Rights Trail is designed to show what happened during the civil rights movement, slavery, and how things have changed. However, if anything, this pointed out all of the work we, as a country and as the world in whole, still need to do. Segregation and redlining is still a very big issue in the areas we visited (and everywhere else). This was an incredibly powerful, eye opening experience for the minis and myself.