March 7, Alabama- We were happy enough that the tornado warnings had ceased, and headed to Selma to go to the Woolworth's, not only to see the site where American people of color refused to be denied lunch on the basis of their color, but also to have lunch. The Woolworth's was long gone but we did have a nice lunch.
We met a rich man who said he had guard dogs and fences around his home because he was tired of everyone asking him for money. He said a preacher came to him one day and said that God had come to him in a vision and told him to ask the rich man for money. The rich man replied that as soon as God appeared to him in a vision and told him to give the preacher money, he would send it right away.
Don't ask me why he paid for our lunch.
Yesterday it was 80 degrees and humid. Today during lunch we watched the rain turn to hail and the hail turn to snow. The weather was nasty, but lunch was good.
Just as we were leaving town, we stopped in the National Voting Rights Museum. It was there that I learned the answers to the questions about the Heart of Dixie. I knew that people had marched in non-violent protest for their right to vote, I knew that Martin Luther King had led the march from Selma to Montgomery. What I did not know was that the first time that people marched from Selma, they made it as far as the Selma city limits, where they were tear gassed, beaten with clubs, stomped by horses, spat on, derided and some people were killed. Women, children, black, white, beaten by their own police force for the crime of demonstrating peacefully for the right to vote. It happened on March 7, 1965. Today is March 7, 1996.
Joanne, the woman who runs the the National Voting Rights Museum, (formerly the site of the White Citizens League) said to me that it was kA. kA led me to visit Selma, totally by accident on "Bloody Sunday". It was on the 3rd attempt to march to Montgomery that Dr. King led the march, and they made it to Montgomery. That night, a white woman from Michigan was killed by the KKK for transporting marchers home from Montgomery. There is a lot more to tell here, and I wish I could tell you that the Museum is a tall and gracious facility, but it is just a few rooms, with a few notes on the walls, and people who will take the time to explain to you one of the most important events in American history. The mayor of Selma, the one who called Dr. King "Martin Luther Coon", the one in charge at that time in 1965-he is still the mayor.
As we crossed the city limits, we could think of nothing but those brave and virtuous Americans who walked from Selma to Montgomery only with the eyes of the world and the support of the United States Attorney General, Robert Kennedy, to protect them from the guns and clubs and white sheets of people who believe in hate and intolerance.
Now I understand.
March 96 Trip