Sunday, June 12, 2011

Visiting Birmingham

Today the BamaCorps took a field trip into Birmingham (about 2 hours by charter bus) to visit the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and have dinner with the huge supporters of Teach For America in Alabama.

It was an incredible day and definitely one of my favorites.

After a morning of logistics, we all hopped on a charter bus and headed straight to Birmingham and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.

I snapped this photo in the atrium, and would have taken a clearer photo but the guard asked me not to take pictures. I think I had assumed that the previous warning/request against cameras was meant for only when inside the museum gallery itself, but I guess not. Whoops.

The quote reads:
"I like to believe 
that the negative extremes of Birmingham's past 
will resolve into the positive and utopian extreme of her future;
that the sins of a dark yesterday will
be redeemed in the achievements of a bright tomorrow."
-Martin Luther King Jr.

It was a powerful museum.

I was so moved by the experience that I haven't really been able to articulate my feelings about it yet. All I can say is that I am extremely grateful to TFA for making sure we saw the Civil Rights Institute while at Induction.

It is a museum that needs to be seen by every single person in the United States, because I honestly believe that there is no way someone can walk through the museum's exhibits without being moved -- both with overwhelming shame and sadness for our nation's past, but also with a sense of awe/appreciation/respect for the strength of will and character of those who fought against the disgusting laws of segregation.

It'll take me a while to process the museum. Until then, please write the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute down as one of the places you must see during your lifetime. It is incredible.

The 16th Street Baptist Church, which was right across the street from the Civil Rights Institute.

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