An Appreciation for the Present
Kendrick Tucker ’11 - Just when we students thought there was very little civil rights history left for us to learn, we traveled to Birmingham, AL to visit the 16th Street Baptist Church. There, we learned of the four little girls that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. referred to as the "angels of change." Their story was told through a brief video and an actual demonstrator of the time, who set up the picture of the tiring times.
While still in Birmingham, we visited the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, which proved to be one of the most interesting and information-filled museums thus far. Filled with videos, audio sections, computer tours, timelines, and civil rights memorabilia, the museum held so many detailed accounts of the movement in the south, ranging from Virginia to Tennessee to Alabama. With KKK robes, stereotypical advertisements, and racist cartoons all on display, I was forced to take a long look at my own life and realize how fortunate I am to be in the position that I am in: a free African American male.
Finally, after seeing many on the historic sites that Birmingham has to often, we ate at a soul food restaurant, where collard greens and canned yams seemed to be the food of choice by many of the noble Wallies that are on the trip. Afterwards, we headed back to our vehicles and prepared for our trip to my hometown: MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE! This is the last leg of our southern tour, and I'm sure it'll prove to be a great one. While many will naturally assume that King Elvis will be front-and-center, I'm sure my city has so much more to offer, including the National Civil Rights Museum and the site where Dr. King was assassinated. Can't wait.