Day 10: Birmingham, Alabama

Day 10: We departed the Super 8 motel in Troy, AL and drove north to Birmingham, where  we found ourselves with a wonderful opportunity to educate the children in an extremely important lesson in American History... but first, some breakfast!

Here are the kiddos getting ready to start our day.

We found a lovely organic restaurant called First Watch that had fabulous food and we sat in the sunshine and enjoyed the beautiful weather.

Do you think the sausages are any good?  Have a look at Harrison's reaction.

 

In downtown Birmingham, Alabama is the Kelly Ingram Park (named after the first American soldier killed in WWI).  It had great historical significance in the Civil Rights Movement in the United States and now serves as a memorial to those events, as you shall see.

In the 1960's, Birmingham, Alabama was perhaps one of the most segregated cities in the country, and tensions between blacks and whites reached a fever pitch.

When non-violent black protesters marched on this park and the businesses that surrounded the park, they were met with fierce resistance from the white police chief, mayor, and police force, including dogs!

Most of the protesters were children, who had left their schools to march together on the downtown business district.  The police chief at the time made the decision to arrest as many of those children as possible and the first night, the jail cells of Birmingham were filled to capacity with black protesting school children.

Here we are behind a memorial to symbolize their stay in jail that night...

But the next day, over 1,000 more students marched on the park and since the jails were already full, the police chief was faced with a very difficult decision.

So after using dogs, arrests, and jail time to try to stop the protesters, he made the decision to escalate their methods to using water cannons on the youths.

The protesters huddled against the walls to try and shield themselves from the dangerous onslaught of the water cannons.

This image gives you a scale of the size of water cannon we are speaking about.

In the end, the protesters prevailed and non-violent protest was proven to be an extremely powerful weapon of change for the South, who had resisted racial integration following the abolishment of slavery.

The kids were very attentive and we spoke for almost two hours about the history and importance of what took place here.

Finally, here is a memorial to four young girls who were killed in bombings of a local church (across the street) by racist white opponents to the black cause they were marching for.

This is that church across the street from the park - its steps were blown off with dynamite by white opponents.

After a wonderful afternoon in the park learning about Civil Rights, we stopped at a rest area for a picnic lunch!  It was such a nice day!

 

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