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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Montgomery Alabama

Saturday we pulled out of our home's driveway.  We were off to enjoy a week long summer break at the beach!  A sort of final hooray before seasons change hands.  Woo-hoo!!  Our first stopover on the way to the beach was Montgomery Alabama.

Hubby and I visited this town a long time ago when we did not have little girls traveling with us.  This time we stayed at the Renaissance smack bam in the middle of the historic downtown area.  We arrived in the early afternoon and decided to explore the riverfront area watching rowers compete vehemently for a win on the Alabama River.

We enjoyed dinner in “The Alley”;  a lovely little spot just off the waterfront with several restaurants to pick from.  As we crossed Commerce street all seemed well, but by the time we took the elevator to the 8th floor and peered out the windows it was raining cats and dogs and people were darting all over Tallapoosa street like little ants looking for an escape. 

After breakfast at Shashy's we explored Dexter Street starting with the slave markets two blocks over from the riverfront.  My daughters were ecstatic to actually stand at the bus stop where Rosa Parks refused to stand up for a white passenger boarding the bus almost 60 years ago, which of course kicked off a year long boycott of the public transportation system that resulted in the dismantling of law undermining African-Americans' rights.

We walked all the way up Dexter stopping at every building and plaque learning more until we finally came to the very top of the Capitol building’s steps and stood on the star where the president of the confederate states, Jefferson Davis, was sworn in, in 1886.  Then we walked over to the Alabama Department of Archives and History.  Once you step inside you might not feel this is an appropriate escape from the heat for young children with it's gleaming white marble floors and walls adorned with bronze breast plates and beautiful ornate ceilings.  But you would be very wrong.  

On the second floor there is a special area just for them where they can make their own quilts, color murals on the walls, dress up in clothes from the old days and pretend play on old type writers and cash registers.  Here is also where you will find the heart wrenching photography telling the story about Martin Luther King and thousands of other people peacefully marching from Selma to Montgomery demanding the basic right to vote.  

Coming from a country with it's own history segregating whole communities based on the color of their skin, it was a special moment to share with my children and to teach them more about the importance of this event and this town in the heart of Alabama.

Finally we were on our way to the beach!