Let Freedom Ring
Posted by Heliocentrism on July 28, 2010
July 13, 2010 Night
Life in a Southern Town
If you’ve ever read any books or watched any movies about the American south during the early 20th century you know that it was a bit behind the times when it came to racial equality. I mean, even more so than the rest of the country. People of color were not treated as real people and had very few rights.
When I think of Montgomery, Alabama I think of a place where the Civil Rights Movement started, grew, and spread through the country. I think of Rosa Parks who didn’t give up her seat to a white person on a cold December day.
As a kid I’d always wondered what she was thinking or how she felt. Was she scared, angry, a little of both? Did her hands shake like mine do when I’m afraid or nervous because I’m standing up for myself? Did working for the NAACP give her courage or did she work for the NAACP because she had courage already?
She was not the first to refuse to give up her seat and move to the back of the bus, but she was the one chosen to be put in the spot light. She was thought of as an up-standing citizen, so she was picked to be the poster child of the civil rights movement. She was someone decent who could be pointed to and have said of her, “How can we let this happen to a good person like her?”
The Montgomery Bus Boycott
This little act of Ms. Parks resulted in a boycott of the public buses in Montgomery by the black citizens. Most of the bus users were black so they had the power, financially, in this struggle. However, it still took over a year for blacks, who paid the same fare as everyone else, to be allowed to take a seat wherever they chose.
A Place Where People Demand Change
In 1861 eleven southern states, including Alabama, had had enough of the United States of America. They weren’t going to be told what to do by some Yankee president. They left the US and declared themselves a new country called The Confederate States of America. Unfortunately for the non-white residents of the new country, the main reason for the secession was so that the whites could enslave them.
Montgomery was the first place chosen for the capital of the new country, which didn’t last long according the southerners. It didn’t exist at all according to the northerners. Since the north won the war, they get the last say.
In 1886 Montgomery became the first US city with a bona fide electrical street car. This caused Montgomery to be one of the first US cities with suburbs. Imagine that!
Less than half a century after that, in 1955, Montgomery saw more changes in the start of the Civil Rights Movement. It grew out of the basement of the Dexter Ave church right down the block from the state’s own capital building.
This movement went a long way in helping African-Americans to become equal in the eyes of white America. Today organizations like the NAACP champion the civil rights of blacks and anyone whose civil liberties are being impeded.
In 1965 when black American citizens tried to register to vote, they were turned away for bogus reasons. People in support of voter’s rights for blacks, and all US citizens, marched from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery. They marched peacefully to show that good people would not just sit back and silently watch injustice take control of their country.
I am grateful to all those who marched.
How to get there:
You can enter my country by land, air, or sea. But I think flight would be your transportation method of choice.
I have no clue how to get a visa to the US or who needs one. Just assume that you need one if you are not American or Canadian and check with your local US embassy.
- Use 911 for the police, fire department, or to get an ambulance
- Use 411 for information (This might cost money.)
- Crash Course:
- CGP Grey:
- Mental Floss:
- American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot
- Area 51
- The Autobiography of Malcolm X
- Dandelion Wine
- Girl in Translation
- The Hemingses of Monticello
- The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid
- The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America
- Notes from a Big Country
- One Summer: America, 1927
- Rolling Nowhere: Riding the Rails with America’s Hoboes
- Stealing Buddha’s Dinner
- That’s Not In My American History Book
- A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail
- The Water Is Wide
- Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland
- It’s a big country. You’re going to need a car.
How to get there:
- 32°22’39.6″N 86°18’02.7″W
- Take exit 1, I-85,
- turn north on Union Street.
- Continue 1/2 mile.
- The Capitol is on the left after Washington Avenue.
600 Dexter Avenue,
- (334) 242-3935
- M-Sa 9:00 – 16:00
- Closed state holidays
How to get there:
- 32°22’34.2″N 86°17’59.8″W
-Going 1-85 South (from Atlanta),
- take exit #1/Union St. and turn right onto So. Union toward State Capitol.
- Go 0.7 mi. and turn left onto Washington.
-Going from I -65 either from Mobile or Birmingham
- turn onto I-85 North; take exit #1/Court St.
- take an immediate left onto Arba St.
- Go to Union,
- turn left,
- go 0.7 mi
- turn left on Washington.
It’s the house on the corner of Union and Washington. The handicap entrance is on Union side.
644 Washington Ave.
Montgomery, AL 36130-3012
- I don’t know, but I doubt it’s free.
- M–F 8–16:30.
- Closed weekends and state holidays
- 32°22’34.7″N 86°18’11.8″W
400 Washington Ave.
Montgomery, AL 36104
- 2 USD Adult
- Kids enter for free
- M-F 9:00 – 16:30
- Sa 10:00 – 16:00
- 32°22’38.2″N 86°18’09.8″W
454 Dexter Avenue
Montgomery, AL 36104
- (334) 263-3970
- Tues – Fri 10:00 – 16:00
- Sat 10:00 – 14:00
- You can take a tour of the Parsonage for a fee.
- The Parsonage is a few blocks away from the church.
- Since this is still a functioning church, you can also go on Sunday, for free, during services.