Rusty here: I was in charge of the Montgomery day. It started with breakfast at the hotel and then we loaded up the car and started walking. First was the Rosa Parks bus stop which was right across the street from the former slave market. For whatever reason, the streets were deserted this Saturday in Montgomery. It seemed like nobody was around. We walked from there to the Rosa Parks museum. After a 45-minute re-enactment, we walked down to the National Memorial for Peace and Justice. The memorial was about the awful lynchings that took place across the country between the end of slavery and modern times. Each hanging monument represented a county where black people were lynched (usually hung) along with the victims’ names. As you walk down the monument the sheer volume is overwhelming. You come to a wall that tells you that probably just as many were unknown. Then you walk through the “tombs”, the same monuments lined up like coffins. Wow. Finally, you get to signs from around the country where cities have recognized these horrific acts. Powerful.
We rode the shuttle up to the Legacy Museum, which is put on by the Equal Justice Initiative and Bryan Stevenson who is one of my heroes. Tara thinks he’ll go down in history as the greatest civil rights activist since the 60s. This was powerful. From Slavery to Mass Incarceration. Starts with the capturing and kidnapping of slaves, the perilous journey across the ocean, and then the breakup of families as they are sold into slavery. Walks through the different eras of slavery. And then finally mass incarceration and wrongful imprisonment. Very moving. Very touching. I felt convinced that I need to do more to stand up for the marginalized, especially LGBTQ equality in Mormonism. Hard to do. I was happy to buy a shirt in the gift shop, thinking it would be a 40 dollar donation when it was 15, then I wanted to buy a whole wardrobe but we didn’t have any time.
Over to dreamland BBQ for some heavy BBQ lunch. Everyone was pretty hungry, Josh got the chips and tips and downed them all. Blake ate a rack of ribs. Tara and I shared a salad and a meat plate. It was sure hard to eat healthy in the south. We walked briefly on the river and then saw both the First White House of the Confederacy and the Dexter Ave Baptist Church where Martin Luther King preached. These two were within about 2 blocks of each other. It was a wild juxtaposition. Then it was time to load up the car and head to Savannah. Goodbye Alabama! It was a long 5 hour car ride. Tara drove at first which helped. A lot of it cut between the freeway on country roads so we got to see many peach and pecan trees. It was pretty scenery. A long drive. A stop at Wendys for dinner. We drove in to Savannah and through the streets lined with Oak tree tunnels and Spanish moss. Sufficiently cool. Our Airbnb was fantastic and even more so after being in sparse hotels for 3 nights. Everyone was thrilled to have a real bed. Tara and I had a huge king bed. But our house was right on a busy road so the first night we had parties outside our window and sports cars racing by all night. Loud! There were a very surprising amount of loud sports cars all over Savannah. But the bed was so cozy, so it made up for it.