We are on Day 4 of our journey, and it's safe to say I've shed tears every day so far. The experiences of these ordinary people calling on the powers that be for change has been inspiring, heartbreaking, challenging, devastating and hopeful. And you know, I'm a crier, so tears is the theme.
We've packed it in (not shocking: have you met my husband before?! Plans for days.), so I'll start with our first day and hope to post more of the other days this week.
Getting ready to fly! Multiple hours on a plane with NO children? And no one to email, call, text or fill in the blank with some kind of responsibility? The BEST. (Thanks grandparents!)
The first day we arrived in Atlanta, and began driving to Montgomery, Alabama. The sky was incredible -heavy with clouds that spread out like a canopy over us.
(Note: that is a single serving, y'all)
We hadn't really planned to walk around the city after eating but (see above picture of gut-busting dinner) we kind of needed a little walk after our meal, so we decided to explore.
Right down the street from where we ate we ran into this marker, which details the slave trade that went through the city of Montgomery. We were standing at the spot where slaves were let off of boats, to be paraded up the street (aptly name Commerce) to be sold at Court Square. Chilling to be standing there, on a balmy night, imagining the bodies of human beings stolen from Africa disembarking from their long, horrific voyage, only to be marched up the street as a piece of property.
These historic markers are all over the place, but the vast majority of the older ones mark events in the Civil War or the time leading up to the Civil War. The below sign, which details the Slave Trade was only recently put up by the Equal Justice Initiative. I think they are kind of brilliant; to me their signs are an artistic intervention. Using the same framework as all of the historic signs (shape, font, etc) but including the parts of history that in the past were not named, the signs and their content are given equal weight and importance.
Our hopes are that this is a pilgrimage, in that it is a time to honor the history, stories, and lives of those faithful people who fought for equality and humanity. I have been astounded to think of how recently these events took place, and how much work we have yet to do. As someone who follows in the teachings of Jesus, I am simultaneously ashamed of how many "Christians" were complicit in and aiding in racist actions, even using words from the Bible to justify and condone their behavior, and also inspired by those believers who sacrificed so much to seek justice in our country. I hope to learn from their passion and sacrifice, and not to leave what I am experiencing behind.