Wednesday, September 7, 2011
I started my trip to the Deep South with a flight north. Clouds covered much of Chesapeake Bay, offering just glimpses of theYork River and Gwynn's Island in the early morning light. I saw a few lights at Reedville and thought of Tangier Sound just to east across the Bay. I'll be sailing up there in a couple of weeks. Light rain and fog in Baltimore, a bite to eat and then a flight south to Birmingham, Alabama. Another hour and a half on the road and we arrived in Montgomery.
This small city on the a bend of the Alabama River, I was told shortly after arriving, is both the cradle of the confederacy and the cradle of the civil rights movement. The signs of each are everywhere. Above is a marker on Dexter Avenue near the state house explaining that Jefferson Davis had his inaugural parade up the street and during the parade "Dixie" was performed as a "piece" for the first time.
Just across the street from that marker is the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church. Martin Luther King, jr. was pastor there from 1954 until 1960. It was in the basement of the church he helped organize the bus boycott in the late 1950's.
As for southern culture, don't forget Hank Williams (he has a museum here). Or Rosa Parks (she has a museum here). Or F. Scott Fitzgerald (he has a museum here). Or the Montgomery Biscuits (minor league baseball team). I think I will learn quite a bit about the south over the next few days.