Freedom Summer: Day 3

June 16, 2014

Birmingham, Alabama
- Kelly Ingram Park
- 16th Street Baptist Church

Montgomery, Alabama
Dexter Ave Church
Southern Poverty Law Center Civil Rights Memorial
- Courthouse
- Slave Market Memorial
- Rosa Parks Museum
- Chris’s Hot Dogs

Route from Selma to Montgomery
- Tent City

Selma, Alabama 
- Edmond Pettus Bridge

FNN Tech Prep Bureau
Monday, June 16, 2014.  Today, we went from Birmingham, Alabama to Montgomery, Alabama to Jackson, Mississippi. Mr. Webb stayed the night in a hotel with us, ate dinner with us last night and had breakfast with us this morning. This morning in Birmingham, we went to the Kelly Ingram Park again but, this time for an extensive tour lead by James Webb. We walked around and read every lesson on the plaques in the park. We also went to the 16th Street Baptist Church. This is where four little girls died due to the bombing of the church. There was a statue built in the Kelly Ingram Park to honor them. We also went to the Rosa Parks Museum. This museum was interactive and I saw one of the most amazing recreations of Rosa Parks refusal to move. This was so much better than watching a dramatized movie. Rosa Parks has always inspired me to take a stand but, seeing the recreation made me feel the need to handle things peacefully. The best thing that happen to me was marching the bridge from Selma to Montgomery with James Webb. Emotions ran high and I couldn’t believe all of the thoughts that rushed into my mind—imagining the state troopers on the other side of the bridge, lined up, waiting for you. Then, picturing people being beat and hit for no reason was my breaking point. I cried. I can say I have been violent in the past, but I am determined to change. My family during that time went through so much more than me but yet, I am so selfish and ungrateful. I would really love to tell my mommy thanks sometimes but, it’s just hard. HOW DO YOU REPAY THE PERSON WHO GAVE YOU LIFE ? I really don’t think it’s possible. My trip so far has made me thankful for everything I have and all the people who fought for me to have it.
- Rydia Wright

June 16, 2014.  Boarding the bus this morning I didn’t know what I was getting into or going to experience. We headed to Kelly Ingram Park in Birmingham, Alabama. Walking around Kelly Ingram Park, I learned multiple lessons and experienced a new feeling I hadn’t learned in a long time. Mr. Webb met us at the park and gave us what I like to call the “Never- Ending Experience“ tour of the park. He made me feel like I was a part of the movement and gave me an experience I will never forget. The thing that stuck out to me the most was the statues of the young kids being sprayed with water hoses and the Birmingham police dogs on attack. The BPD named their dogs N***er and made them attack kids as young as 6 years old. I felt ashamed, disappointed and sad. I was ashamed and guilty. I know of times when I was violent and it could have been solved with just words. There’s been times where I’ve bullied people into doing things I wanted. Seeing those kids being attacked and hearing the story behind it made me feel like I was below them. Those children were attacked and fatally beaten for something they believed in. I felt so ashamed standing there. But I learned something from it. I learned that violence doesn’t solve anything. It makes things worse.  Disappointed isn’t the word that I felt for those police officers. Their lack of humanity and understanding was appalling. They probably had children and family that age and they didn’t feel anything. They didn’t even put into perspective what those children’s parents felt when they saw their children beaten and bruised. It is blatantly obvious those police were heartless and didn’t feel anything because it wasn’t them and their family. I was so sad standing there. Thinking back on it, those were our ancestors being brutally beaten and killed. Thinking about their emotions at the time is overwhelming. Fear and determination are the two emotions that came to mind every time I heard a story about my ancestors. Most of the men and women at that time knew they were going to die but were still determined to fight in what they believed. Not just those young children but every African-American who fought in the movement. Furthermore, while walking through the park, there were 7 posts. Out of those seven posts, one stood out the most to me. The quote read: “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable”. This quote made me think of every movement I learned about in class. It also made me think of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. After the bombing of his house, angry protesters were on his lawn ready to go to war for him. They were tired of the brutality and deaths, but Dr.KIng didn’t encourage it. Instead he told them to go home and be with their families because the way to fight back was not violence. Another example is the march from Selma to Montgomery. While marching, protesters were spit on, attacked, trampled by police officers and beaten. They didn’t fight back or become violent, they just kept trying. I can really imagine the fear that gripped them everyday. Is violence really necessary? Or is it ineviitable.        
- Reina Tindle    

Today is June 16th, 2014. We woke up in Birmingham, Alabama and had breakfast with Mr. James Webb. We then boarded the bus and headed back to Kelly Ingram Park. At the park we followed the Civil Rights trail, which informed us of numerous civil rights events that occurred in Birmingham. they also had kiosks with lessons planted on the back of them. We walked across the street and viewed the 16th Street Baptist Church, where the bombing and murder of 4 little girls happened in 1963. We then drove to Montgomery, Alabama where we ate lunch and visited the legendary Dexter Ave Church. We then went to the Rosa Parks Museum where we recorded an interview with Ms. Georgette Norman. We all headed back on the bus and drove to a site formerly known as Tent City. Tent City was a place where former sharecroppers stayed after they were thrown out of their homes for trying to register to vote. We walked around the site and read stories of people's experiences living there. It was very moving. The group then headed to Selma, Alabama. Once we arrived in Selma we, along with Mr. James Webb, crossed the Edmund Pettis Bridge, just as the marchers did in their Selma to Montgomery march. It was a scary experience, walking on a bridge over a body of water. I was so scared that I had to switch sides with my partner, Taria Taylor, because I did not want to fall in the water. Mr. Webb told us about the events of the first Selma to Montgomery March, “Bloody Sunday”, and he was very emotional about it. Once we crossed the bridge we said our goodbyes to James Webb and headed to Jackson, Mississippi, where we arrived very late.
- Trayona Lawrence

Today is Monday June 16, 2014. We started our day going on a tour of the Kelly Ingram Park and IT WAS AMAZING. We got to see how blacks were pushed back, oppressed using inhumane tactics—even if they were children. 

Whites used anything they could to keep our people from standing up—like fire hoses, dogs, and beatings. Even when children got involved and stood at the front line they still used inhumane tactics to keep them back. I  admire the children’s courage because for them to be so young, they made such a big difference. I really enjoyed when James Webb led me and another student down a path and told us, “On the count of three, open your eyes.” When I did, I was, traumatized at the feeling that ran through me when I opened my eyes and saw this monstrous black dog with gaping jaws directly in my face. I got to experience just a little, if nothing at all, the feeling these children felt as they tried desperately to fight for their freedom and were met with violence and and hatred.
- Patricia Tindle

Day 3.  We went back to the 16th Street Baptist Church and the park across the street to basically learn more about what happened and gain our own personal perspective on its symbolism. We got a tour from Mr.Webb. Then we split up and followed a trail of facts through the park on information boards. A lot of what we read was something I already knew but it was more so the reminder that struck me. The thought of that happening to my great grandmother who is now deceased, makes me weak because my great grandmother never really spoke of struggle and pain when she was younger. She spoke of happiness and joy. After we took a self-guided tour around the park, we all went down to Montgomery Alabama for lunch at Chris’s Hot Dogs, a restaurant that use to have ‘’white folk only,’’ plastered across its forehead. When we went, they were just as friendly as any restaurant. Today was truly amazing. I look forward to tomorrow.
- Aaron Grice

Today is Monday, June 16, 2014 and we are in Birmingham Alabama. We are back at Kelly Ingram Park. Mr. Webb showed us around the park and explained all the statues and how they are significant to the movement. I understood so much more and was so excited to learn with him as our tour guide—mainly because he was there, he experienced it and can put real feeling into it. We boarded the bus again and headed for Montgomery, Alabama. Our first stop was at Martin Luther King’s church on Dexter Ave. We didn’t go in so we took an early lunch at Chris’ Hot Dogs. It was a little hole in the wall, when we went in the area. It was old and preserved as well as possible. The owner’s grandson told us stories of the historic restaurant and how it was racially segregated but the owner wasn’t racist. After lunch we walked down the street to the Rosa Parks Museum. There we met and interviewed Gerogette Norman. She is the director of the museum, but she also lived during the movement. She was very interesting. Her answers to our interviewer’s question caught our interviewer off guard a little, but in my opinion, she had the best interview of our trip. She then showed us around the museum. It was great because of how the information was presented. The graphics and animation kept my attention and made me want to see more.
- Briana Thomas

Journal #3. 6/16/14.  Today was a very interesting experience. My peers, James Webb and I went back to the Kelly Ingram Park where we split up in groups and read different lessons on plaques. Each lesson stuck out to me and I had an understanding of where the people of that time were coming from. Also in the park were various statues of the terrorism that happened to African Americans. One of the statues that stuck out the most to me was of the children in jail. It was unfair and cruel to see the children behind those bars. Other interesting statues were the fire hoses shooting water at the African Americans and the police dogs who were ready to attack. These statues made me feel like I was in the Civil Rights Movement myself. Next we walked to the fountain that used to be a slave market. Around the corner from the old slave market was the Rosa Parks Museum. One of my peers interviewed Georgette Norman and she told us about her experiences growing up during the Civil Rights Movement. Georgette’s and James's stories made me appreciate and value life more. The stuff that they have been through does not compare to half of the things that happens today. Furthermore, we watched a remake of the incident with Rosa Parks and the white bus driver. I very much appreciate her for standing up for her rights. She is the cause of why African Americans can sit anywhere we want. We also went to Tent City in Montgomery Alabama where blacks who were put out of theirs homes had to live in tents on a field. One lady said she gave birth inside of her tent while it was raining. Lastly, we walked the bridge in Selma that went to Montgomery. James Webb, who also walked with us said that every time he crosses that bridge he can see the troops. The people who walked across the bridge were tear gassed and beaten brutally. Luckily no one was killed. When James Webb left us today he taught me a valuable lesson: "You should leave things better than the way you found them."
- Taria Taylor

06/16/14. Journal #3
Today was a very special day. We all walked across the bridge in Selma Alabama. The bridge is significant because it's where black people were stopped when trying to protest about people who were killed trying to register to vote. The protesters were beaten and tear gassed. So they ran back to the other side of the bridge where they started. James Webb lead us across the bridge stopping us in order to allow us to imagine what they had to go through. As we walked the bridge, I got chills throughout my body. I couldn't imagine going through the horrible things that they had to encounter.  He left us with a powerful message "Don't leave the world in the same shape you came in."...meaning don't die without changing something or someone.
-  Deandra Jackson  

Day 3.  Today we drove to Montgomery, Alabama. There we went to the Rosa Parks Museum. The museum was very interesting because it showed a recreation of her arrest. It also showed how the word got out about the boycott, how many people were a part of it and what type of people were apart of it. It turned out that a lot of children were helping the adults as well during the Civil Rights Movement. After that we walked the Selma bridge which was very fascinating because Mr. Webb was a part of the original walk and he was telling us about his experiences and what they faced. He told us to walk silently across the bridge, and to imagine troopers lined up at the end waiting for them to tell them to go back. I imagined that and I kind of got stopped in my tracks because I was thinking about what the original walkers were thinking and feeling. After we left the bridge we drove to Jackson, Mississippi. We stayed in a hotel that smells really bad. But I think we'll be able to pull through and make it to the next day.
- Rhonea Long

Day 3.  Today we went back to the park, walked through and got a lesson from each history template. This was fun because I learned a lot that could apply to my daily life. Next we walked the bridge. This scared me because cars were passing by and we were over water. At the bridge I could see where they marched and how they all ran back across the bridge when police attacked them. So far on our freedom ride I have seen and connected with people from the civil rights movement. They have died and been through so much for blacks to be equal.
- Katrina Smith