Birmingham Civil Rights Institute


NOLA -> Birmingham, AL -> Atlanta, GA -> Charleston, SC

I woke up relatively early and treated myself to beignets at Café Du Monde and a large glass of milk. I read my book and relaxed as the sun began to climb the horizon and people scuttled off to important things.

On the east coast there seems to be less space between things and I got to Birmingham relatively quickly. My main target was the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, a relatively new destination with hopefully lots of information on bus boycotts. The museum was well laid out, complete with side-by-side schoolrooms and houses, churches and their musical organizing power, and a full-scale bus with a tiny Rosa Parks sitting up front. The exhibit even brought these topics to the present day, covering protest music and asking for “living history” submissions from visitors.

Across the street was the 16th st Baptist church, notable in Civil Rights history as the location where a bombing killed four young girls. Notable groups like the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and individuals like Martin Luther King Jr were working out of this church and the controversy that followed would help inspire and pass the Civil Rights act of 1964.

Though Atlanta is filled with at least a week’s work of activities, my main drawing point to it was the Aquarium. But as I pulled closer to the city I realized I would not make it in time for operating hours. With no back up plan, I drove through the city and pretended like that counted as visiting before returning to the highway, driving into the darkness, the city’s glorious lights beginning to fade behind me.

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