Day 3: Experiencing the History of Selma

Click on the video to the right by Brionna Wiggins to learn about a little-known fact about Bloody Sunday.

MARCH 9, 2015.
We had the chance to sleep in a little before eating breakfast at the hotel. Again we drove to Selma to meet Jimmie Webb for a tour of the community. Today was cool and cloudy, a major change from the heat yesterday. If only it was like that both days...

     First, we stopped at a church on a main street, which has a program that feeds 1,300 twice a day. Before the Civil Rights Bill was passed, however, because this church faced a busy street, black church-goers could only enter through the side entrance due to racism. So, both the side entrance and front entrance were built exactly the same. Thankfully, that was forgotten by the 1960s.
     On the tour, there were numerous markers that told us the local history relating to each landmark. Of course, all of them had something to do with civil rights or those who participated in it. Jimmy was excited with one of them, which was for a friend, Lewis Scott. He was blind, but he managed to own a store and could tell the difference between a twenty or one dollar bills, as told by Jimmy. The community also had plenty of abandoned homes along with a housing project, but no one would ever guess that successful people were brought up in that neighborhood, including Jimmy.

Next was the St. James Hotel. Inside, it looked old-fashioned, but luxurious. Apparently, there were rumors about three different ghosts haunting the hotel. Even ghost-hunters who come in three times a year say so. Reports from guests fit the description of the presence of the ghosts. However, whether there were some or not, we never encountered any.
     In addition, we had the chance to walk across the bridge, just like we wanted. The weather was perfect and anyone could vision an obstacle after walking across. Of course, by obstacle, I mean the police who waited for the marchers at the end of the bridge. We walked arm in arm, adding to the experience. I was grateful that we came today instead of walking yesterday. Other than the cars, it was peaceful. It was the appreciation of history that counted.
      Lastly, Jimmy showed us a museum about the Civil Rights Movement in Selma. He explained a few of the pictures and memories he had of them, including the ones where he spotted his picture as a teenager. All in all, the tour was an exhaustingly memorable part of our trip. Now about getting home…              
-Brionna Wiggins, 8th grade, Friendship Woodridge Academy.

March 9, 2015. Today, on our last day in Alabama, Jimmy Webb gave us a tour to some of the important churches and buildings in Selma. We visited Tabernacle Baptist Church, First Baptist Church, Jimmy Webb's home, the Selma Police Department and the George Washington Carver Housing Project. After visiting these sites, we went to St. James Hotel and went inside to walk around. We saw each floor and wanted to see if it was really haunted, as they say, then went out back and took a look at the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Since we were not able to go across yesterday, we decided today would be better. We went to the start of the bridge, locked arms with each other, to symbolize how it was done 50 years ago, and began to walk. It felt wonderful but also 

breathtaking to walk across the Edmund Pettis bridge as if we participated in the original March. We got to the end of the bridge, took pictures in the same spot where the marchers were stopped by the town sheriff, 50 years ago. We crossed back from the end of the bridge to where we started. We all took one last glance at the bridge and drove to a mini museum of real-life videos from the original Bloody Sunday. We got to read information on people and the major events that took place around that time. It was such an amusing day but most importantly special because we were finally able to cross the bridge, even if it wasn't crowded with everyone who came across the country to participate on the actual March day.                                                                                -Taila Bennett, 8th grade, Friendship Woodridge Academy.

Monday March 9th, 2015. I first thought we were flying home Sunday night. So when I found out that I had an extra day in Alabama, I was ecstatic. Come to find out we were going to leave later on in the afternoon once we've finished the tour with Jim Webb. The weather was friendlier outside after we woke up earlier to pick our guide up. We traveled on foot after we met up with him, receiving brief lectures as we were taking stops at historic landmarks of the city. Buildings were nice and their role during what took place during those times were even better. We hit past stops from the beginning of the march until we reached the end of the bridge where we walked down and I recorded. I thought to myself that the views it created were awe inspiring for ones who had an eye for nature. Before we headed back we went to a small museum that included photos and information about some events that has taken place during the march. There was even a couple of pictures of Jim Webb. After the museum trip, we departed and carried out errands until we got back to the airports to head home.                                                       - Michael Wood, senior, Friendship Tech Prep Academy.

March 9, 2015. Today's adventure was a drag. We all met up downstairs in the lobby of hotel and ate breakfast. We checked out and started on the road towards Selma. Arriving in Selma, we met up with Mr. Webb, who himself was tired. It seemed everyone was tired and exhausted. Mr.Webb took us on a tour of Selma. We were able to see Selma University and where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr stayed when he was in town. We stopped at the Tabernacle Baptist Church. The church was built by students who went to Tuskegee University. The side and the front of the building were built exactly the same, but whites were the only ones allowed to enter through the front and the blacks has to enter on the side. The Tabernacle was also where they held the mass meeting during the civil rights movement in the 1960s. After stopping there we headed towards The George Washington Carver homes which were where blacks lived and in the center was the Brown Chapel Church. While walking through we stopped and noticed they put a plaque up of Lewis Scott, a blind man who won many awards and ran a business for 47 years. Mr. Webb was amazed and excited about the plaque. It was his first time seeing it and was truly happy about what the town had done for Mr.Scott. He told us how he and his friends used to try to trick Mr.Scott by telling him one dollar bills were twenties, but Mr.Scott never fell for their antics. We headed towards the Edmund Pettus bridge and stopped at The St.James hotel. We were told the story of Lucinda's death, the girlfriend of Jessie James. After doing a tour of the beautiful hotel, we walked toward the Edmund Pettus Bridge. As I was walking across, I didn't have the same connection that I had over the summer. I felt forced to be connected and a part of it this time. I was grateful to be able to experience it again but it wasn't the same. Once we crossed the bridge, we went to the interpretive center. We gazed around and then took the hour drive to the Montgomery Regional Airport. We got on our first flight and headed to Atlanta. We then caught out next flight home.                                                     - Reina Tindle, senior, Friendship Tech Prep Academy.