I will never forget this trip...it was both thought-provoking and
bitter-sweet for me personally.
Bitter due to the reminders of an ugly part of our nation's history AND
present, from the Voting Rights Museum at the Pettus Bridge in Selma to
the recent voting down of a new state flag in Mississippi. Ephemerally
sweet when I encountered glimmers of hope and promise, such as the
determination and strength of Hollis Watkins, former (& still active)
There were a number of emotional moments during our tour but listing them
would not do them justice. I tried explaining the trip to people when I
came back but found words woefully inadequate. Seeing, meeting, feeling,
hearing, and tasting the Deep South was a complex experience. We saw
James Chaney's grave, with it's shot-out likeness of the man and metal
supports holding it up. We heard the sadness of the south at the Delta
Blues Museum. We stood in a small room, elbow to elbow, where Ms. Bland
told us about being jailed as a child in an equally small space with 40
other freedom fighters.
How do you explain such experience to one who was not there? It does not
seem to be to be fully possible. Which simply makes me realize that what
I understand of the South is just a glimmer of its real self, as much as I
witnessed and felt I understood.
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