Our blog is to keep family and friends informed of our motorhome journeys.
We have dreamed of this for many years and finally our dream has come true.
We are looking forward to many happy miles ahead.
One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things. Henry Miller.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Selma and Cahawba

19 April 2016

Today, a drive to Selma..a first visit for me, but imprinted in my mind forever as I watched on TV the March led by Martin Luther King on 21 March 1965 from Selma via Hwy 80 to the Montgomery Capitol..some 54 miles. Some 4,000 marchers led the March until the highway narrowed to two lanes. It was then restricted to 300. As the March approached the Capitol the numbers swelled to 25,000. The Right to Vote March, after enduring over a century of harassment, bloodshed and deaths eventually culminated in the passing of the Voting Rights Law signed by President Johnson on 6 August 1965, long denied under the 15th Amendment.

Bloody Sunday Plaque

Voting Rights Plaque

Edmund Pettus Bridge

Another View

Photo of March

Signage for March
First Baptist Church Used at Rallying Point

Brown Chapel Staging Point for March

It was a violent time, not by the Black Movement, but by the Governor Wallace, law enforcers, KKK.  On Bloody Sunday, 9 March, some 600 marchers approaching the Pettus Bridge saw a sea of blue-Alabama State Troopers blocking Hwy 80. They were given 2 minutes to return to their homes and churches. When they did ot move, the troopers began attacking them as they did not resist. On March 9, Unitarian Minister James Reeb , who was white, was attacked and later died. His assailants were acquitted. An unfortunate and misguided  sign of the times. A week later, President Johnson called on Congress to pass a voting rights bill and the injunction against the march was lifted; however, marchers in Montgomery were brutally beaten as Governor Wallace refused to abide by the request.

After the march, Viola Liuzzo who was carrying marchers back to Selma was brutally shot by the KKK. Laws cannot change or end bigotry. Jonathon Daniels, an Episcopal minister who was helping desegregation efforts in Haynesville AL was shot and killed. Lowndes County landowers evicted tenants who registered to vote. In the end by 1966, the number of registered African Americans in Alabama was four times that in 1960.

When visiting Selma, suggest you stop at the NPS Interpretive Center for the display of the March and history and then do a walking tour of the town.

Water Street Marker

Our next was the Old Depot Museum. This was originally a L&N railroad station built in 1891 it contains treasures of the heritage of Selma. It is one of twelve depots still standing in Southeast. The artifacts in the museum contain more than 200 years of life in Selma.

Depot Museum

Another View

Five Indian tribes thrived in the area due to the rich river and stream systems. The Confederate Naval Ordnance Works were located on the site of the Depot. The complex produced half of all munitions used by the Confederacy. There are exhibits of  a sharecroppers life, the more affluent life of Selma and images of the March. The museum is a work in progress and donations of items are abundant and yet to be displayed.

When we walked to the Vaughn-Smitherman Home, we were disappointed to learn it was closed due to an event.The home was used as a Confederate Hospital and has the Lewis collection of Civil War artifacts. It was built in 1847 by the Masons as a boys and girls school. The building was used as a hospital to treat Confederate Soldiers. There is speculation that a tunnel ran beneath the building to the Alabama River  to transport wounded soldiers from the battlefield to the hospital as well as smuggle supplies. We hope to return before we depart.

Vaughan Smitherman Museum Plaque

We had lunch at the Sidewalk Cafe across from the St James Hotel. John had a cuban sandwich and I a barbecue sandwich and Pecan Pie.

Side Porch Menu

Plaque for St james Hotel

St James Hotel

We then drove  to Old Cahawba ruins near Oroville.  Cahawba was once the Capital city of Alabama from 1820-1826 and a site for the captured Union Soldiers. The town was carved out of a wilderness and built on the remains of a ghost town, a 16th century Indian Village. It grew into a wealthy antebellum river town. After the war it became a refuge  for emancipated slaves. Suddenly it disappeared and nothing remains. Today it is an important archaeological site. Nothing remains of the homes and buildings.

Visitor Center for Cahawba

Signage of Years Past


Capital Monument

Site of theUnion Prison

After searching for more Historic Markers enroute home, we finally returned at 700PM. .a very long day, but well worth it. John got lots of good info for his site.

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