The day was spent in Montgomery, AL where the Montgomery Bus Boycott took place. For 381 straight days, blacks walked to work, to church, to the store; refused to take the public transportation system. Blacks were not permitted to sit in the front 10 seats of the bus. They also had to enter into the back door of the bus only after paying their fee through the front door.
We visited the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church and parsonage. This church was Dr. King’s first church from 1954-1960. The former parsonage of the church had been restored to what it looked like when the King family lived in it. Some of the furniture is original to the house while other pieces have been donated by Montgomery community members. One piece of furniture in particular caught my attention: it is the very same bureau that is in our dining room. It is a four-drawer cherry bureau; the very same one that kept silverware, napkins and other utensils that the King family used.
Yesterday we just missed James Bevel, today we just missed Bill Baxley. If you had no idea who James Bevel is, you really don’t know who Bill Baxley is. Mr. Baxley was the prosecutor during the first trial for the murder of one of the girls in the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. Through the work of Mr. Baxley, one man was sent to prison for the death of one of the children. Mr. Baxley was at the Alabama State Capitol this afternoon but we had just missed him.
Lastly, we visited the Southern Poverty Law Center. This center seeks to provide justice for people that have been disenranchised. The SPLC also has been instrumental in remember individuals who have lost their lives during the fight for civil rights. People from Emmett Till to Martin Luther King are remembered through their memorial and educational programs. On one wall inside the facility, there is a list of about 75 names that lost their lives but have not been remembered to the extent of others. There was one name that jumped off of the wall: Jessie Brown. I’m going to do some research to find out how this person’s life was taken and I may make contact with their family.
Thanks for reading.