A Trip To Montgomery To Hang With Dr. King!
While attending a conference in Montgomery I did a little visiting through the city and it was awesome! Special shout out to my tour guide Dr. Kimberly Brown for her hospitality and knowledge. I was able to visit the famous Dexter Avenue Baptist Church where in 1954, Dr. Martin Luther King began his ﬁrst full-time pastorship. It was also the place where he accepted the major leadership role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott as the president of the Montgomery Improvement Association. I was also able to stop by his home where he started his family with Mrs. Coretta Scott King. What a sight to behold!
The BEST part of my tour was meeting Mr. Nelson Malden who was the barber of Dr. King!! He talked about how Dr. King would make jokes, how he had to encourage him to tip and the impact of the the bus boycott. What a blessing to meet this great man.
The Home of the Legendary Bob Marley
For my 29th birthday I visited Jamaica and while there I was able to travel to the home of Bob Marley, which is known as the Nine Mile. It was great to see the place that Bob Marley lived and was born. He is buried on the property, his grandparents, brother and mom are also buried there and it is ran by one of his brothers. The pic in the top left is his bed room in the 2 room house and the “single bed” that he talks about in the song “Is This Love?” And the Mt. Zion sign on the bottom right pic is placed right by the temple and is talked about many times in his lyrics, particularly in the song Jammin. Zion represents a holy place, more specifically Africa, for Rastafarians. Marley’s home is less than 30 minutes from the place where Marcus Garvey was born but I was told there is no marker for where he was born.
The Bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church 51 Years later
These children-unoffending, innocent, and beautiful-were the victims of one of the most vicious and tragic crimes ever perpetrated against humanity.
-Dr. Martin Luther King
While attending a conference in Birmingham, Alabama this summer I was able to see the historic 16th Street Baptist Church. It was September 15, 1963 that four little girls Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley and Addie Mae Collins–were killed by a bomb blast by the Ku Klux Klan. Sarah Collins, the younger sister of Addie Mae, lost her eye as a result of the bombing. In 2014, she is still alive and has never received compensation for the horror of the event and suffers from post traumatic stress syndrome as a result of the bombing. Although the four little girls who lost their lives were awarded Congressional Gold Medals in 2013, justice for the fifth has never occurred and continues to have an impact on her daily life. Let us remember the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church and all of the lives it took and shook.
A Visit To The Home of Booker T. Washington
“In my contact with people, I find that, as a rule, it is only the little, narrow people who live for themselves, who never read good books, who do not travel, who never open up their souls in a way to permit them to come into contact with other souls – with the great outside world.” –Mr. Booker T. Washington
As I visited Montgomery, Alabama last month I was excited to learn that Tuskegee University and the home its founder Mr. Booker T. Washington, was less than an hours drive away. Having read Up From Slavery and having studied the self-help theories of Washington, it was a magical experience to see the school he built from a shack to a well-known university. Arriving in 1881 Washington found a shack and no available funds to build anything yet he taught and fundraised and had students build up the school. In the early years the students made the bricks by hand and were responsible for building many of the buildings on campus. Today Tuskegee is the only HBCU to offer the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and the first and only HBCU to offered the accredited B.S. degree in Aerospace Engineering. The university is the leading producer of African Americans with BS degrees in chemical, electrical, and mechanical engineering in the country!
Known as “The Oaks” and designed by Robert R. Taylor, the first African American graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Booker T. Washington’s home is now a National Park Service Site. “The Oaks” was built in 1899 and was once the place where Washington lived with his three children Portia, Booker T. Jr., and Ernest Davidson, and his third wife Margaret Murray. The home is adjacent to the campus of Tuskegee University and much of the original furniture has been replaced by period pieces, which were re-created utilizing photos. His office is the only room containing original items including hand-carved furniture, Washington’s certificate from Hampton Institute and a huge painting of Washington in his prime. Although it is a beautiful home, having been restored in 1980, many of the rooms are empty and the third floor is closed to visitors. Although there is much that could be done to make the home a more pleasant visit. I advise everyone to visit this historical place if you’re ever in Alabama. To schedule your tour TODAY visit http://www.nps.gov/tuin/planyourvisit/things2do.htm.