Alabama Odyssey 2019: Day 2

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Breakfast at Hargis
Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
Kelly Ingram Park
Lunch – Zoes Kitchen
16th Street Baptist Church
Joe Minter –“Africa in America”
Dinner at Dreamland
Back to Hargis

After we left Hargis, I though the park (Kelley Ingram) was really interesting. But once we got to the museum (The Civil Rights Institute) I was fascinated. I thought that the imagery was intense, but essential in this study.

I was especially touched earlier this morning to see a bronze model of Coretta Scott King. Learning about her and reading her writing for the past few months has made me feel close to her and perk up every time I hear her name. They statue made me think of the portrait I made of her, and I was at that moment so proud to have her represented both at the Civil Rights Institute and in Brattleboro.

When I had first learned about the four girls who died at 16th Street Baptist Church, I wasn’t thinking about it too much. But today was the day it struck me; four children where murdered out of cold blood in the basement of the church. They had had friends, friends. And while they were in the basement of 16th Street, the bomb went off, ending their lives.

At first glance, it’s just an old crazy man with a whole bunch of roadside garbage. But a closer look reveals that every piece of his has a meaning, a purpose. Joe is not crazy (maybe a little bit), he just is happy. He had a glint of joy in his eyes, and I knew us being there made his day.

I want to work on feeling more comfortable with the people we are meeting. Everyone has been so nice and welcoming, but I haven’t really welcomed them. Like today, Joe Minter said something funny, and he was laughing, and his laugh is unlike anything I have heard, and it made me feel so welcomed. Myself, though, I had a hard time laughing, even though I thought it was funny. Now I wonder if I shared my laugh, would he have felt even more comfortable, and then we could have even more special moments and conversation?

I realized I am so aware of how I act around black people here. I’m always overthinking how I act, and if I’m seeming privileged, or something. I think I’m just being parinoid, but it’s uncomfortable always worrying if I’m doing something wrong.

A million foot soldiers
To hold up
Stop looking
Through the glass
Look at them
They spoke, too
They marched, too
They died, too
They held you
Thank them, too.
Joe Minter’s “African Village in America”